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Withem - 2016 The Unforgiving Road

ARTIST: Withem
ALBUM: The Unforgiving Road
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2016
SPONSOR: Frontiers Haulix Portal


LINEUP: Ole Aleksander Wagenius - vocals * Frank Nordeng Røe - drums * Øyvind Voldmo Larsen - guitars * Miguel Pereira - bass

Guest Keyboardists Espen Storø, Neemias Teixeira

TRACK LISTING: 01 Intro * 02 Exit * 03 In The Hands Of A God * 04 The Pain I Collected * 05 Riven * 06 C'est La Vie * 07 The Eye In The Sky * 08 Arrhythmia * 09 In My Will * 10 Unaffected Love * 11 Outro



Frontiers Music are quite brave releasing a true progressive metal album on their predominant AOR and melodic rock label. True, they have dabbled in this genre previously, with bands such as Pathosray and Circus Maximus, and one shouldn't forget they have done heavy metal quite frequently, so by bringing a band like Withem onboard, is not quite out of left field. And by the mere mention of fellow Norwegians Circus Maximus in this article, one gets a good idea where Withem draw their influences from. In fact CM's keyboardist Espen Storø guests on 'The Unforgiving Road', as does The Sigma Project's Neemias Teixeira. Keyboards feature heavily on this set, and it's hard not to compare this CD to stuff that Circus Maximus have done previously, such as 'Havoc' and 'Isolate'. Anything that gets compared to CM gets a vote of confidence from me!

The Songs
'The Unforgiving Road' is Withem's second album; 'The Point Of You' came out in 2013 on Sensory Music and received great press around the world. An appearance at ProgPower USA in 2014 also put the band into the consciousness of many prog metal fans. This new one is a huge sounding album with textures and layers everywhere. The arrangements do vary and things overall are kept very interesting. Withem fans will no doubt pick the album apart and compare it to 'Point Of You'. Whether that's a good thing or not is subjective. Seeing as I haven't heard that first album I come in with no bias. Highlights for me include the overwhelming metal of 'Arrhythmia', the carefully crafted melodia of 'Riven', the killer battering ram that is 'Exit' (ironically, at the start of the album), and the equalling compelling 'The Pain I Collected'.

In Summary
It would seem that 'The Unforgiving Road' is a concept album, though I haven't quite worked it out. As mentioned, the arrangement do vary with strong musicianship. If you like bands such as Pagans Mind, Seventh Wonder and of course Circus Maximus, then these guys are definitely worth checking out. I'll now go off and find that first album. A treasure hunt awaits.

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#1 | DEMONAOR on July 26 2016 03:36:02
Interesting Norwegian band, people i have talked to said it was a bit hard to get into the music. Great musicianship and great music most of the album.

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