Saturday, August 24, 2013

Witherscape

I almost never write about music on this blog since it's more about you know fantasy stuff. I should be blogging about it, it's a big passion. Today however I just have to blog about the debut album "The Inheritance" by Swedish duo project Witherscape

Swedish multi-instrumentalist Dan Swanö is the mind behind the recently released debut (released in July over here, August in the US), and he's a man I've been following for a large part of my life - the first album I bought where he was involved was "Unorthodox" by one of my all-time favorite bands, Edge of Sanity, which I bought before Christmas in 1992 (!) - so I've "known" Mr. Dan for twenty-one fricking years! That is actually shocking and a little sad. Sad, because I still listen to "Unorthodox" routinely. Some people would say that's sad, at any rate. Me, I don't believe in "outgrowing" music (or fantasy for that matter). Anyway, that's an entirely different topic. As is my love for Edge of Sanity's zany all-over-the-place music.

Thing is, I'm positively infected by Witherscape's "The Inheritance", it's such a wonderful venture intoace.
Dan Swanö in concert
wonderful music and it's an album that maybe could interest other people as well (by other people I mean those who don't listen to glorious glorious metal). As a concept album, it features interconnected lyrics telling a dark and sad story (which isn't unusual for the genre), but the music is generally uplifting. I found myself rocking out in the kitchen while doing the dishes to third track 'Dead for a Day', which in a fair world would be an international hit. Combining melodic death metal (yes, there's growling - and Dan's growls are among the greatest) with progressive rock elements and a healthy dose of atmosphere, this is the kind of song that really gets Slynt going. Sometimes I like my music to be a bit more aggressive and extreme, and sometimes I like it to be simpler and more in-your-face, but generally, this song has a lot of elements in it that I value highly; the interplay between clean vocals and the gurglier sort, the groove, the melodies...Love at first listen. Opener "Mother of the Soul" is a similar exciting piece of music, energetic, varied, and interesting all the way through, and second track "Astrid Falls" too - yet they are all distinct after a listen or two (this is music that requires a few listens for it to settle properly and deep love to emerge...lovingly); these three songs are now regularly heard in the house, well at least by me. I have to use headsets to get my daily music fix. Somehow other family members do not appreciate my musical tastes and affinity for loudness. In the face. Metal remains, for me, in the words of many an Englishman,

The rest of the album is still growing on me, so there's still a lot to enjoy. Small discoveries of sound now and then, adding to the tapestry of the rich, atmospheric music. This could be an album that I could tire off quickly because it is so saturated with melodies, and melodies tend to wear out first, but as of now, I am quite certain that "The Inheritance" is the musical experience of 2013 A.D. Every month, hundreds of new metal albums are released - seriously, it's a huge genre, much bigger than most people realize I suppose. I wondered back in '88 whether there could ever be a great metal album again after Metallica's "...And Justice for All". I wondered the same in '91 after Morbid Angel's "Blessed are the Sick". And again, and again the genre has kept on giving. This year, "The Inheritance" tops my list (so far), but there have been many, many gems already, and it is amazing really how long this genre has been stable and how much creativity it has fostered. This year I've enjoyed so many new releases by such diverse bands as the increasingly popular Ghost, Immolation, Soilwork, The Fall of Every Season, In Vain, Watain, Darkthrone, Caladan Brood (yes, they're named after the Malazan character), Leprous, Amorphis, and many many more. 

Metal! It's brilliant most of the time, and also cheesy a lot of the time. Like fantasy then. They're kind of siblings, in my world. Next post will be about fantasy, though, no worries. Or maybe I'll dive into the world of cheese. 

Here's the lyric video for 'Dead for a Day'. No excuses, give it a chance.


And as a special one-time treat (:p) here I am with Dan the Man himself, back in 2008 when I saw him with his progressive rock project Nightingale. What a night, folks! What a night. If Witherscape is too extreme for you because of the guttural vocals you could try out Nightingale which leans closer to prog rock with no growling involved, but otherwise somewhat similar (check out the song "Revival", it's a gem).

Seeing this, I realize I don't look as hard-rockin' as I should.

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