WITHEM – The Unforgiving Road [Japanese Edition] (2016)
To be released by Frontiers Music next June 3, “The Unforgiving Road” is the debut with the prestigious label by WITHEM, the melodic progressive metal act from Norway. The album just appeared in Japan with the usual bonus track.
Withem is an upcoming band hailing from Norway concentrating heavily on melodic, memorable hooks, but still with plenty of stunning and virtuoso instrumental sections.
The band debuted with in 2013 with their first album gathering excellent reviews from several music websites, blogs and magazines from all over the world. The release was followed by European touring with Pagan’s Mind, Circus Maximus and Seventh Wonder, and performances at both ProgPower USA and ProgPower Oslo, always with an extremely positive reception.
Not the typical musical style released by Frontiers Music, however I can see – or hear – why Withem was signed by the label.
“The Unforgiving Road” is extremely melodic, and their blend of progressive metal is easy to the ears, where the songs avoid the cliches and pitfalls of overly dramatic instrumental sections and sheer senseless complexity and instead center on creative interplay between the musicians, while the unique vocal range of Ole Aleksander Wagenius gives the band a distinctive touch.
Withem doesn’t try to trick you or impress with massive amounts tempo and time signature shift that destroy any substance of melody. No. Both melody and hard rock groove are abundant here, along with catchy hooks in melody and refrains.
In this sense, they want to both challenge you, keep you intrigued as it were, but also keep things accessible. When they do that, Withem is at their best.
Notable for this are ‘Riven’, the atmospheric ‘C’est la Vie’, and the engaging melodic pop hooks of ‘The Eye In The Sky’ (superb vocals), which moves by quick-paced rock groove.
Perhaps the more commercial number, and a favorite as well, is the bouncy, melodic rock themed ‘In My Will’.
For something a bit more on the pure prog metal side, a song such as ‘In The Hands Of God’ has lots of twists, while ‘Exit’ and ‘Arrhythmia’ are snarling and quite heavy numbers but always melodic.
The band combine all these styles on the dramatic and emotional closer ‘Unaffected Love’, once again, another great vehicle for Ole to show off his superior vocal chops.
The entire album is bookended with an Intro and Outro flavored with some melancholy, excellent keyboards.
Withem blend progressive metal grip with high dosage of hard rock, melodic groove, some kind of the best of both world to appeal all audiences.
Packed with really good, catchy songs and a quite bombastic production, “The Unforgiving Road” is a marvelously effective rocking album. Hey, creativity combined with musical accessibility is a good thing, highly enjoyable for sure.
Vocalist Ole Aleksander Wagenius is a revelation. This guy is without a doubt the real deal, as are the rest of Withem, a progressive metal band that the world will surely be taking a closer look at with the release of this sizzling gem of an album.
03. In The Hands Of A God
04. The Pain I Collected
06. C’est La Vie
07. The Eye In The Sky
09. In My Will
10. Unaffected Love
12. Mr. Miruz (Japanese Bonus Track)
Ole Aleksander Wagenius – Vocals
Oyvind Voldmo Larsen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Miguel Pereira – Bass
Frank Nordeng Roe – Drums
Espen Storo, Neemias Teixeira – Keyboards
BUY IT !