Witherfall were formed in 2013 and their name quickly got the attention of many metalheads, when two of their founding members joined more known bands. Guitarist Jake Dryer first joined Iced Earth in 2016 and then singer/keyboardist Joseph Michael went to Sanctuary after the death of legend Warrel Dane in 2018.
These two musicians are the only ones with constant presence in the line-up of the band. The other two are bassist Anthony Crawford and drummer Marko Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, etc.). They are releasing their third full-length album in a short time, after “Nocturnes And Requiems” (2017) and “A Prelude To Sorrow” (2018), all through Century Media.
Witherfall play a combination of heavy, power and progressive metal. There are times where they have fast, pure power metal rhythms, with monotonous for me drumming and songwriting. During some mid-tempo moments, they bring out more melody and atmosphere, with refrains that make things relatively more interesting. Of course, there is also the quest for prog, with longer song durations (eight and fifteen minutes in this album), having different elements and different approaches. The use of acoustic guitar is also a frequent case on the album.
But I feel that something is missing. And this is the structure of the songs. Dryer is an experienced guitarist, but we do not hear any worthy riffs here. Almost just simple guitar fills to have something in the background, while overdoing it with too many solos that sometimes pop out in the wrong place and time. If it wasn’t for that, I would really be talking about amateur guitar work.
Minnemann may be a talented and excellent drummer but here, no matter how many fillings he makes, the compositions do not let him stand out and he is consumed in the monotony I mentioned before. As for Michael? He has an amazing voice; his tone brings to mind Dane, but this alone cannot do the job when the result sounds to my ears so disconnected. Also, his high-pitched screams and the various effects he uses do not make things any better.
I really listened to “Curse Of Autumn” more times than I should have, trying to catch something. It lasts almost one hour and this does not make it easy. The compositions look very flat to me, with no substantial riffs. The solos are cool, but you do not build a record on them, unless it is purely instrumental. Fans of bands like Sanctuary, Nevermore, Symphony X and Communic for example, give it a try and you might have a different opinion.