WITHERFALL – Nocturnes and Requiems (2017)

Since starting the HEAVY METAL 2017 article, I have been keeping an eye out for new speed, traditional, and gruff power metal. Witherfall is not within that realm despite being an unsigned power/progressive/heavy act from Los Angeles. I know it feels weird to delineate between the two but soon you will see the difference. Witherfall has had no sort of introduction before their full length and comes with zero announcements or hype. Despite some of these odds to find a home or fanbase, Nocturnes and Requiems is a fantastic record which shines by itself and perhaps succeeds because of its difference from everything else.

I think I have to stress the fact this band is unsigned and Nocturnes and Requiems comes by way of no label support. When listening to the balanced and artful production for Witherfall a listener can marvel at the capabilities of self released albums to sound this way. While not overblown or lacking in any aspect, the presentation for Witherfall’s debuts dips and dives through a variety of sounds. From Flamenco guitars, to twin harmonic leads, to sorrowful progressive crooning, to Mercyful Fate worship, Witherfall ropes in a thousand styles to create a fun and entertaining record that keeps descending into interesting soundscapes. If I was unsure at the beginning, I am completely on board by the end of this record.

It is easy to gather up a bunch of records that all fit a style and sound. This is the majority of things I do. Witherfall is unique since they really do not fit anywhere. Sometimes this makes it difficult for a band to find an audience. Nocturnes and Requiems shines because its independence and inability to fit neatly next to other albums. I hope this band continues to be oddballs in contemporary heavy metal since everything I have been hearing is weird and wild.

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