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Witherscape - "The Inheritence" (CD)

Witherscape - "The Inheritence" CD cover image

"The Inheritence" track listing:

1. Mother Of The Soul
2. Astrid Falls
3. Dead For A Day
4. Dying For The Sun
5. To The Calling Of Blood And Dreams
6. The Math Of The Myth
7. Crawling From Validity
8. The Wedlock Observation
9. The Inheritance

Reviewed by on July 23, 2013

"Taking the sounds of metal’s earlier days, working in many modern and progressive touches, and wrapping it all up in a ghostly concept, 'The Inheritance' is everything you could have hoped for and more from one of metal’s long-running standard bearers."

Getting back into the ring after playing the part of coach for years, the underground metal champ Dan Swano has teamed up with Ragnar Widerberg to knock the lights out of the competition and show the youngsters how metal is really supposed to be done. Taking the sounds of metal’s earlier days, working in many modern and progressive touches, and wrapping it all up in a ghostly concept, “The Inheritance” is everything you could have hoped for and more from one of metal’s long-running standard bearers.

In interviews about the Witherscape project, Swano has frequently brought up his love for Judas Priest, and that’s an important influence to note before experiencing “The Inheritance.” The album is firmly rooted in a sound that would nowadays be referred to as “classic” or “traditional” metal. While there are definitely death metal elements, the disc doesn’t have anything particularly technical or even brutal for much of its run time. Death growls do appear on several songs, but the vast majority of the vocals are traditional clean singing, and it’s a full-bodied, world-class vocal delivery the likes of which you won’t get on the average metal album.

In addition to the classic heaviness getting a death metal makeover, there are also prominent prog additions, like the psychedelic sounds on “Crawling From Validity.” The combination of prog and death has led many to draw comparisons to Opeth, which are accurate up to a point. The Opeth vibe is really more in the aesthetics and theme than in the actual sound, with the only clear musical comparisons showing up in the melodic guitars of “Astrid Falls” or the psychedelic keyboards of “Dying For The Sun.”

As another added layer of complexity, there’s also an overall atmosphere that will appeal to Paradise Lost fans, and some of the growling and guitar combinations bring to mind the death/doom mix of Swallow the Sun. The piano-driven ending title track almost seems overdue when it finally rolls around, as there probably should have been a creepy movie-style track earlier on, but it is a fitting ending reminiscent of the soundtrack to the Silent Hill movie. Rather than using the keyboards or symphonic elements, the album instead generally sticks to creating a ghostly atmosphere in the guitar tone.

“Astrid Falls” – the first track to be released online – is actually one of the best representations of the album as a whole, showcasing the many different elements present. If you dig that one, put the “The Inheritance” on your short list. Besides being a fantastic excursion into the wide world of metal on its own, there’s also the added bonus that this album’s release will likely herald more new material from Swano’s other projects that have lain dormant for a good long time now.

Highs: One of the giants of metal does not disappoint when he melds classic, death, and prog metal all together.

Lows: Despite the atmospheric touches, it seems like more of the concept could have been worked into the music.

Bottom line: Swano and Widerberg channel classic metal through a ghostly concept album that dabbles in both death and prog as well.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)