Whitherscape – The Northern Sanctuary


Witherscape is multi-talented and super-busy Dan Swanӧ ‘s band/project with his friend and co-traveler Ragnar Widerberg and this is their second full length studio album.

High quality progressive metal with clean vocals and growls combined, that could be the tag on the CD, or the little hand-written label in a local record store (are there any of that left nowadays?). The duo Swanӧ /Widerberg thrives on their atmospheric enchanting melodies that are violently wipped by the brutal vocals and gently caressed by the clean ones. The song structure never get too complicated and its complexity is kept at a minimum level turning over to the”catchy” level dare I say. As usual, maestro Swanӧ gives empahsis in melody, as he recently told us in an interview, since he wants the listener to be able to even whistle along his songs. Knowing those guys’ influences and love for progressive and more commercial rock of the ’80s is interesting to listen to how they combine those references with the extreme elements of “The Northern Sanctuary”. There are moments where you listen to bridge, a hook, or a guitar passage that would definitely seem out of place if you took it out of its context, but under Whitherscape’s prism sounds right at home.

Lyrically, the story follows the “man in white” (“Mannen i vitt” ) concept some 50 years on, where he buys the house where all the horror initially happened. He’s restored it and rents out rooms to people from the big cities, who are aiming for some peaceful northern Swedish silence. But the entity still haunts the house and “Mannen i vitt” is possessed by it, so consequently he/it does terrible things to the “patients”…