Sounds Of The Forgotten


WOW, once again, the North American Heavy/Progressive Metal warriors created a masterpriece!
April 15, 2024

The differences between the North American and European Metal schools is a very good discussion to undertake, but’s not easy to explain. It demands to hear music for years, studying the history of each school and try to explain social aspects and influences of each other. That can clarify things that differs WITHERFALL from other bands of the same genre, but from other countries. But speaking about the North American band from California, here are they’re again with their fourth full-length, “Sounds of the Forgotten”.

The team of the studio: Jake Dreyer (the band’s guitarist) and Joseph Michael (the singer/keyboardist of the quintet, now on SANCTUARY as well) on the production, with Zeuss working as producer as well (and who did the mixing and mastering as well). All to give the album a solid, heavy and modern sound outfit, but with some classic features of North American Metal School. It’s clear and heavy, but yet allowing the melodic side of the band’s music to be heard and understood. And the artwork of Blake Armstrong, worked on few contrasts between white and tons of purple fits on what is musically depicted.

To say that’s a form of North American Heavy/Progressive Metal is to have a naïve idea of what is heard on the album. It’s a combination between of traditional US Metal ideas with North American Progressive/Power Metal from the 80s, and it’s not a sin to say that they’re in a way the combines the same elements found on bands as SANCTUARY, QUEENSRŸCHE, NEVERMORE, FATES WARNING, HELSTAR, ICED EARTH, JAG PANZER and others, but always with personality and in a way that is intense and even aggressive (pay attention to the blast beat parts in many moments, as heard on “Insidious”). It’s filled with and young and outrageous energy, so it means that’s excellent!

“They Will Let You Down” opens the album with a rich technical appeal, with fine aggressive arrangements from the guitars (and what lovely chorus filled with fine keyboards), being followed by the introspective and tender accords that starts “Where Do I Begin?”, a song filled with fine contrasts between heavier and dense parts with melancholic melodic elements (based on a fine work of the guitars). On “A Lonely Path” is heard a sinister moment that introduces “Insidious”, a heavier and aggressive moment, with fast and thunderous drumming (some elements of extreme Metal can be heard on its playing), and fiery nasty melodies can be heard along contrasts between vocals’ tunes. And “Ceremony of Fire” brings a set of elements with deep roots on North American Power Metal, along a set of many emotions being expressed by the vocals (and what very good playing from bass guitar is heard during the transitions).

The title track “Sounds of the Forgotten” begins with sad and somber melodies being weaved by the guitars, and during the song, such appeal lasts, even on the more aggressive parts. And “Aftermath” works as a climatic link between the previous song with “When It All Falls Away”, another moment with a deeper and introspective expression, depicting influences from the 70s hard Rock and even from North American Pop music of those days mixed with the band’s Heavy/Porg Metal appeal. The short length of “Opulent” is filled with a kind of Spanish melodies weaved by the guitars (and a strongly technical work of bass guitar), a ‘noir’ moment of the album. And “What Have You Done?” is a long song (more than 10 minutes) full of shifts between strong and heavier parts with melodic and introspective moments, but always coherent and hard to leave aside.

It seems that even with every song dealing with a lyric on its own, “Sounds of the Forgotten” sounds as a conceptual opus, so it must be heard fully, without jumping from a song to the other. WITHERFELL is that kind of band that makes you think that Metal future is promising when the titans stop their career. So take “Songs of the Forgotten” trial, dive into it, and enjoy. It’s for sure one of the best albums of the year! And you’ll be asking yourself (as I do the same here) why such a great band isn’t a huge commercial success!

10 / 10









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"Sounds Of The Forgotten" Track-listing:
  1. They Will Let You Down
  2. Where Do I Begin?
  3. A Lonely Path
  4. Insidious
  5. Ceremony of Fire
  6. Sounds of the Forgotten
  7. Aftermath
  8. When It All Falls Away
  9. Opulent
  10. What Have You Done?
Witherfall Lineup:

Joseph Michael - Vocals, Keyboards
Jake Dreyer - Guitars
Anthony Crawford - Bass
Gerry Hirshfeld - Keyboards
Marco Minnemann - Drums (session)

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