REVIEW: WITHERFALL – “Nocturnes And Requiems”
There are a few bands out there that present you with seasoned songwriting. When I say seasoned songwriting, I mean knowing when to play what instrument and to what extent.
Witherfall is a progressive metal outfit based out of Los Angeles, California. It is the collaborative effort of guitarist Jake Dreyer from Iced Earth, singer Joseph Michael of White Wizzard and the late Adam Sagan of Circle II Circle.
Their new full length record titled ‘Nocturnes and Requiems’ is as ambitious as it is promising and from the very first riff, you know you’re going to have a good time. This is an album you need to sit down and listen to seriously.
“Portrait” paints a furious picture with angry riffs and double bass gymnastics. Crazed shredding follows quickly with segues into dreamy soundscapes. The vocals remind me of TYR. As soon as the first track dies down, you’re thrown into another ripper with “What We Are Dying For”. Guitar virtuosity and frenzied drum-work continues on with enough solos peppered to get you air guitaring.
From there on, we move on to “Sacrifice”, which is preceded by a short interlude called “Act II”. which serves as a palate cleanser. “Sacrifice” follows the same postulates that are laid down by the previous tracks but at no time do you feel bored or wondering if you’re listening to the same song.
“The Great Awakening” has a bit of doom-gloom gothic vibe to it. The singing on this track is top notch. It’s a quite little acoustic track with a lot of emotion and beauty to it. As a perfect contrast to what you’ve just heard, you get “End of Time” which I can only describe as a guitar shred-a-thon. If you’re a fan of guitar virtuosity in lieu of Van Halen or Jari Maenpaa then you’re going to love this. It’s not all skill-flaunting though. The song meanders to a wonderful singing passage with guitar arpeggios in the background before jumping back into the thick of it.
You hear another interlude titled “Finale” followed by the album closer – “Nobody Sleeps Here”. Its a fitting track to close the album out since it has everything that you’ve grown to enjoy through this listening experience and re-enforces it.
The production on this album is solid so I can’t say much about that. There is nothing to nitpick or be unhappy about. Songwriting is pretty consistent across the song spectrum. There is a lot of detail and attention paid the track-listing and in many ways, you can see this as a concept record. Witherfall take influence from Power Metal, Progressive Metal and Speed Metal, with the sound having a very 80s feel to it. While the influences are visible, the sound is their own and they’ve perfected it to a balance of everything.