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Waldheim - "Fight Against Time" (CD)

Waldheim - "Fight Against Time" CD cover image

"Fight Against Time" track listing:

1. Fight Against Time
2. Bridge of Sand
3. Lost in the Rain
4. Break the Silence
5. March of Empty Souls
6. We Will Fall Together
7. Illuminati
8. Memories Of Fate (instrumental)
9. Valzer Infinito
10. Forest Ending

Reviewed by on September 16, 2009

"'Fight Against Time' comes across as an attempt to produce a unique sound in a genre that’s become saturated with sound-alike bands."

Spain’s Waldheim formed in 1999 and went through a series of lineup changes before settling on their current lineup of Roberto Rojo "Fitti" (death metal vocals), Noemi Mendicote "N.M. Mina" (clean female vocals), Mikel "M.I. Sword" and Diego "D. Hole" on guitars, Aratz Setien on bass and Jessica on keyboards. The band draws their name from the German word for "home of the forest" and incorporates forest themes into their music. They released their debut album “Fight Against Time” in 2008, an album that incorporates elements from melodic death and symphonic metal.

The title track sets the tone for the record with a combination of symphonic strings, operatic female vocals alternating with death metal growls reminiscent of Tommy Rogers' work in Between the Buried and Me. There’s a lot going with this track between the chugging power chords, rapid lead guitars and arpeggiated keyboards. The drumming is pretty standard melodeath/metalcore fair, heavy on the snare drum and double bass work.

“Bridge of Sand” finds the band slowing the tempos down with some quality harmonized guitar work before blasting into riffage that had a “Mr. Scary” quality to it. “Lost in The Sand” uses keyboards that have a distinctly “Exorcist” feel to them before starting into some fairly brutal guitar that hints at “Soundtrack to Your Escape”-era In Flames. The rest of the album follows the same vein as these opening few tracks with technically proficient solos and complex interplay between the instruments. Other highlights include the excellent main riff in “Illuminati,” the band showing their sensitive side with some piano-driven metal in “Memories of Fate.” The final track “Forest Ending” even incorporates crickets, waterfalls and birds chirping with some solo piano, thus making this possible the first “forest metal” album.

Overall, this disc comes across as an attempt to produce a unique sound in a genre that’s become saturated with sound-alike bands. Waldheim has succeeded on that front but they seem to be doing too much at times and may consider less complex song structures. Mina’s vocals are definitely competent, although not on the same level as Tarja Turunen of Nightwish and in songs such as “We Will Fall Together,” the shift to operatic singing kills the song momentum. The lyrics deal with the standard fare of love, death, the afterlife, heaven and hell, and existence, but the highlight of this album is the high quality musicianship that incorporates elements from metal bands such as Children of Bodom, Trivium, Nightwish and In Flames. Waldheim may need to become a little more focused in future efforts but “Fight Against Time” is definitely an interesting listen.

Highs: The eclectic mix of instrumentation and metal styles means this album is never boring.

Lows: Operatic vocals seem out of place at times during up-tempo tracks and strings are over-used on some tracks.

Bottom line: If you’ve always wanted a complex fusion of Nightwish-style metal with heavier melodic death metal, this could be your dream album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)