Witherfall – Nocturnes and Requiems
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Witherfall is the brainchild of former White Wizzard/current Iced Earth guitarist Jake Dryer and former White Wizzard vocalist Joseph Michael. When I heard that these two were reuniting to do a project together, I will be honest and say that I was very much apprehensive. While I love Jake Dreyer’s guitar playing, Joseph Michael wasn’t someone who I was a huge fan of. He did a great job in White Wizzard but I just couldn’t imagine him doing anything more than that standard, classic type of metal. I was completely proven wrong the minute “Portrait” blasted through my speakers.
If you would’ve told me that this was the same Joseph Michael, I would’ve never believed it in a million years. The music in just this one song was so captivating and perfectly executed and Michael’s vocals are absolutely astonishing. While “Portrait” seemed to embody very much a King Diamond influence, “What Are We Dying For” immediately changes gears and heads into a more technical thrash sound that in some ways mirrors the sound of Symphony X only way better written. The real show stopper here is the magnum opus “End of Time.” This is where it all just seemed to come together and have Witherfall exercising their precise use of dynamics both musically and vocally. The drumming of Adam Sagan (may he rest in peace) is tasteful and powerful while the under stated bass playing of Anthony Crawford creates a perfect foundation and balance of sound that compliments Dryer’s playing throughout this amazing track.
Here’s the deal. This kind of music can a lot of times lack heart, soul, passion, and/or feel but on Nocturnes and Requiems, Witherfall has managed to find a perfect balance of all of those things. Joseph Michael’s vocal performance on this album is one of the best that I have heard. His voice delivers every line with conviction whether it is at his most subtle or his most aggressive voice. The musical performances are extremely technical yet there is so much emotion to the playing. The constant shift in dynamics throughout each song comes without warning and just when you think you know where the song is going they do a hard right and take you into a whole new place.
Nocturnes and Requiems is everything I love about this style of heavy metal music and for being such a new band, they sound like they’ve been doing it for decades. I also have to point out that in a time where so many of these bands tend to sound like each other, Witherfall has done a remarkable job at forging their own identity. This is definitely an album and a band to keep a close eye out on in 2017.
For more on Witherfall, head over to https://www.witherfall.com/