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Witherfall: A Prelude To Sorrow
Witherfall - A Prelude To Sorrow Music Review

Witherfall: A Prelude To Sorrow

Progressive Metal

Los Angeles metal act Witherfall made ocean-like waves in the metal underground with their debut album, Nocturnes And Requiems. Mostly a DIY project, with founder, composer, and guitarist Jake Dreyer (Iced Earth, White Wizzard, etc) at the helm, the album was both independently and digitally released in 2017. Reviewers, including myself, where impressed by Witherfall's progressive metal and Dreyer's feisty fret work. This success brought some well-deserved recognition. For their new and second album, the band has signed with metal giant Century Media for the release of A Prelude To Sorrow.

Witherfall Band Photo Click For Larger Image


Essentially, A Prelude To Sorrow is Nocturnes And Requiems part two. That's not said to be either minimalist or dismissive of the album. But conceptually and musically, the albums are quite similar. Conceptually, like its predecessor, A Prelude To Sorrow turns on the band's reflection upon the death of original drummer and friend Adam Sagan who died from lymphoma two years ago. Musically, the songs return to Witherfall's progressive metal marked by Joseph Michael's expressive emotional to screamo vocals and Dreyer's technical compositions featuring his inventive guitar work. Together, within A Prelude To Sorrow, Witherfall creates progressive metal which is dark and melancholy and, at times, foreboding and desperate in tone.

Expanding on this a little more, you'll find songs such as We Are Nothing and Vintage (the two longest songs) to be multi-dimensional, with parts soft and heavy, quick and somber, often defined by Dreyer's guitar parts. Alternatively with songs such as Moment Of Silence and Shadows, the heaviness seems to rule the arrangement with strong riffage and an intense rhythm section defined by powerful drumming. With both Communion Of The Wicked and Ode To Despair, the songs betray their purpose with light starts, before turning dynamically heavy. With the latter song, it merely takes a little longer to get there. Conversely, lightness and melancholy return in Maridians Visitation and the closing Epilogue, both largely lead by Dreyer's classical acoustic guitar. Yet also, as with the previous album, Dreyer's guitar work is something you don't want to miss or take lightly. He's an exceptional guitarist with an abundance of creativity and a profound sense of tone and intensity to match both concept and composition.

In the end, A Prelude To Sorrow finds Witherfall in fine form, delivering dark and complex progressive metal with exceptional guitar work from Jake Dreyer. Nevertheless, and without being callous or unsympathetic, conceptually, it's probably time for the band to move on from their ongoing bereavement. Recommended.

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The Bottom Line

A Prelude To Sorrow finds Witherfall in fine form, delivering dark and complex progressive metal with exceptional guitar work from Jake Dreyer. Recommended.

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