First things first. I will consider all this buzz around California’s WITHERFALL as a fully justified fact.
Not only they have managed to deliver a magnificent debut out of nowhere, not only they gave some great live shows, not only they managed to see their name mentioned in the metal press around the globe (and not only metal press: hey you folks out there, find me ONE group that managed to be hosted on the official Church Of Satan page and I will buy you a beer, yeah WITHERFALL did it), not only their singer Joseph Michael managed to fill Warrel Dane‘s shoes in SANCTUARY, but they have returned with real music -and not bullshit- in absolutely no time at all, delivering their second album almost a year after the debut (and yeah they are now on Century Media, leaving the private pressing days of the debut, far behind).
“Serious bands get to work when they are still hot” you would say. And I would agree, but they have to offer me music that matters in order for me to be a happy man when giving to them my hard earned money. So let’s see if this is the case with WITHERFALL‘s second release “A Prelude To Sorrow”.
It is clear to me that the band has found a very specific formula on their debut and they are still working under it on their sophomore release. This formula mainly consists of some technical Power / Prog Metal that carries a 90’s and 00’s vibe. Yeap, this is the basis, but they care enough to emphasize on the dark side of their music -matching the concept of their lyrics as well, so it is a win win story- and when I say dark side, I mainly refer to the acoustic interludes and / or parts on the songs, to those very specific deeply gray melodies, that accompany their solid tech-riffing and of course to the vocal melodies of Joseph. The WITHERFALL formula is completed by the beautiful, shredding guitar parts as it was something we loved on the debut and why should they take it away now?
Listening more and more to the stuff of the new album, I would discover even more NEVERMORE (all the albums minus the first one) and SANCTUARY (both from their first two classics and from the third reunion album as well) influences. Also this MERCYFUL FATE on steroids vibe that I have discovered on the debut BOTH due to the black atmosphere but also due to the technical riffs AND the virtuoso guitar solos, well it is still here :).
You would also enjoy the rhythm section, because the music that WITHERFALL have chosen to play demands a solid, heavy and amazing rhythm section and they have it.
Maybe it’s my idea, but Mr. Michael sounds more like WARREL DANE in this album than ever. Both due to the color of his voice and the particular vocal melodies he uses. Fortunately, he does not stay only in the DANE universe, but he expands the rest of the vocal goods. When he uses his magnificent theatrical approach he sounds really amazing!
Well, yes, it is a fact. The band uses all the bells and whistles from their debut album absolutely expanded in here. They would not change their formula even if Satan himself offers their next deal (well I think so), and that sounds very logical to me. At the end of the day the album got some great tunes to offer the WITHERFALL way.
I became a WITHERFALL fan from day zero. And I really enjoyed the new album. So I guess if you are like me you are already enjoying it as well. If you have not checked the band yet, I advise you to do so. There is for sure some first class dark metal waiting for you to discover.