Whyzdom – From the Brink of Infinity – 3.5/5
After much anticipation I finally get my hands on what looked to shape up to be a very interesting release. The female fronted symphonic/power genre seems to have become unbelievably stereotyped, with Nightwish clone bands coming out of the woodwork – very few of them any good – but boasting a small orchestra, guitarists that seem to be able to play a decent enough riff and compositions that feel so much more than just a pop song dressed up a bit for a ‘metal’ crowd, this debut effort seemed set to take a fresh look on a stagnant genre. Sadly, in this theatrical performance not everything works.
The vocals bear the brunt of my criticism, easily comparable to Sharon Den Adel of Within Temptation fame, they are far from the faux-operatic in the genre – even offering the occasional unenthused growl for variety – but there’s ultimately no power behind them. For the bombastic theatrical tone behind her she needs a far thicker, fuller voice to dominate over the lavish backing, but it almost always comes across too fragile, crushed by the weight of the distorted guitars behind her. The drumming too often feels painfully simplistic, capable of delivering some fills here and there, but fairly often is relegated to the back contributing little.
The guitarist demonstrates he can write a decent enough riff and solo, sparsely placed throughout the course of the album, but all too often he appears to be content to fall back onto basic power chords, and beyond the chorus lines, I can’t quite understand why this is so often the case. After all this you may be wondering how I justify the score, and quite frankly its all down to the manner in which the orchestra is integrated; using all manner of flutes, violins and choral work to ‘fill in the gaps’ in the sound, piecing everything together to form a sense of track continuity, adding layers of intermittent rhythms floating in and out of the basic rhythm, working well with the keyboards to provide an interesting diversity to the proceedings.
The end result feels as though fresh eyes have been laid upon the genre, returning to the genre roots where a deep heavy metal distorted crunch is placed on the guitars, retaining that catchy simplistic element to many of the tracks whilst simultaneously going a step further than most modern artists in the genre, and actually integrating orchestral elements, and not in a haphazard manner either. They actually feel directed; they have their own pivotal role to play in lending the classical tone to the music. This may not be the most original album devised, but for all its flaws and shortcomings it not only feels fresh – something which is remarkably rare – but feels like actual metal, and not something else ‘pretending.’ Somehow I don’t think this is the last I’ll be hearing from this one.
Highlights: Everlasting Child, Atlantis, The Seeds of Chaos, Daughter of the Night
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Tuesday, 13 October 2009