(9/10) It was in 2017 when Witherfall debuted with ‘Nocturnes and Requiems’, an album that created a big wow amongst metalheads. Looking at the background of the musicians involved explains the quality of the debut. Iced Earth, Ross the Boss, Fortress and Sanctuary are just some of the bands Witherfall members have been or are still part of.
As with the debut, the band is still impacted by the loss of their drummer Adam Paul Sagan who passed away in 2016. Witherfall celebrates and honors the lost band member with the new album, something that becomes most obvious by the name of the album, reflecting Sagan’s initials.
The sophomore album ‘A Prelude to Sorrow’ will hit the shelves this November and I can report that Witherfall picks it up where they left off with the debut. Powerful US metal is the centerpiece of Witherfall’s sound and it’s progressive elements that spices-up each of the ten songs on the album. Actually, it is eight songs, framed by an intro entitled ‘A Prelude to Sorrow’ and an ‘Epilogue’ at the end of this awesome release.
The real magic though happens in between intro and outro. Each of the tracks on this album is a little highlight in itself and it’s ‘We are Nothing’ and ‘Vintage’ being the shining stars. Both songs are 11 minutes compositions reminding of the best, progressive power metal offered till today. The quintet fires on all cylinders with a dense wall of guitars, a heavily pounding rhythm section and superb vocals by Joseph Michael. While ‘We are Nothing’ focusses more on the heavy tones it’s ‘Vintage’ that enjoys with a layered mix of gentle tones and powerful outbursts. Each of the two tracks includes some twists and a certain level of complexity, always supporting the song as such. Capabilities and experience of the five guys don’t lead to extensive showmanship. Each band member is part of the bigger total and contributes to it. This unity is for certain one of the success factors of ‘A Prelude to Sorrow’.
I picked out the two most epic songs of the album but the others are equally good. There is no dull moment on the longplayer. Sometimes Witherfall uses acoustic sounds to create a lot of feel (‘Maridian’s Visitation’) while the following ‘Shadows’ is an excellent US metal song, reminding of iconic bands like Sanctuary and Nevermore.
You rarely see a band, whose first two albums are on such a high level. Witherfall can celebrate this achievement and although these two longplayers are awesome it still feels like there is much more to come. Just the beginning, not the end.
- A Prelude To Sorrow
- We Are Nothing)
- Moment Of Silence
- Communion Of The Wicked
- Maridian’s Visitation
- Ode To Despair
- The Call
Label: Century Media
Genre: Progressive US-Metal
Release Date EU: November 2nd, 2018