The new Witherfall album A Prelude To Sorrow is coming out on November 2nd. This is another magnificent album and a fitting companion to Witherfall’s prior album Nocturnes and Requiems. The core of Witherfall and principle songwriters are guitarist Jake Dreyer (also with Iced Earth) and vocalist Joseph Michael. You may remember Joseph as the man who did an amazing job of filling in for the late Warrel Dane on the last Sanctuary tour. Jake and Joseph were kind enough to join me for a conversation about the new album and plans for taking the music on the road.
The new album title A Prelude to Sorrow is an homage to the late Witherfall drummer Adam Paul Sagan. Adam passed away due to cancer prior to the release of Nocturnes and Requiems. I asked Jake and Joseph if dedicating the album to Adam means that he is now immortal. Joseph clarified by saying “Well, this album not really dedicated to him. It’s specifically about him and our experiences and the situation he was thrust into” adding “The first album was dedicated to him after his death because he never even got to see the release of the record.” Jake went on to say “There are three or four songs on this record that are based on thing we call the Sagan suite. As long as people are still listening to those songs, there is a part of Adam that is living on.”
A Prelude To Sorrow deals with the concepts of our demise and in particular what happens once we shed our mortal coil. Songs such as “We Are Nothing” and “Moment of Silence” suggest there is nothing beyond this life with terrifying force. However, songs like the epic “Vintage” suggest a hope for something more beyond death’s door. I asked Joseph and Jake about their personal feelings on the subject of an afterlife. In particular, if there is nothing else does that drive them to create art now instead of waiting. Joseph explained that the song “Vintage”; “it’s more about us consoling our friend, you know, as he’s going through this horrible fucking illness.” Jake mentioned “A lot of the songs are very aggressive in nature because we were dealing with…it’s all natural, it’s just dealing with what we were up against. It was very emotional. Very sad and there’s a lot of anger.” Responding to the question of driving the need to create art, Joseph was emphatic with “It sure fucking does.”
Witherfall is in a class by themselves with respect to melding brutally heavy riffs within beautifully arranged and performed classical compositions. I wanted to know if they felt it was more important to focus on interesting compositions or to develop a song that has an emotional statement and then adding in other interesting compositional elements. Jake responded that “It is definitely a combination of both for sure. Because, it’s not like when Joseph and I are writing, we’re like “oh, this should sound like a classical thing.” It just comes naturally because that’s what we listen to. We like listening to a ton of classical music, so I think that influence just shines naturally and so does the emotional aspect…what’s the point of having stuff if it doesn’t make you feel something emotionally.”
Wine seems to be a major contributor to the creative process of Witherfall. Take a peak at their video for “Ode To Despair” and you will see what I mean. However, red wine and Witherfall pair very well together.
Finally, we talked about upcoming tour plans. The band plans to be in Japan from November 26th until December 7th. They have a tour of Europe for the beginning of 2019 planned, but can’t yet announce. Be sure to follow the band and order your copy of the fantastic new album called A Prelude To Sorrow which will be released on Century Media on November 2nd.