Metal with a symphonic edge has really taken off over the last few years, yet there is a definite shortage in good quality bands. Some struggle to find a vocalist to hit the required operatic notes, others use cheaper synth tones and fail to make the music sound “big.” Fortunately for fans of all things symphonic, Whyzdom have stepped up to the plate to deliver what you want on their new album, Symphony For A Hopeless God.
What you’ll notice as you progress through the album is that it is a lot more stripped back than many other bands of this ilk. There’s none of the crazy carnival/circus touches that have become a staple in a lot of other artists work. This gives the guitars much more room to breathe, and as the album progresses it just gets riffier. Rather than lying below the orchestration, the guitars accompany them, often leading them.
It’s most definitely a metal album with the above in mind and this is maybe what I like most about it, it stays loyal to the roots of the music. Don’t let me lead you astray though; there are light hearted moments throughout. Where Are The Angels is a good example of that. However, there is a bigger emphasis on “heavy.” This particularly shines in Let’s Play With Fire. It’s far away from the Disney-esque metal of their peers, instead venturing into evil, fast and most importantly heavy territories. Perhaps the song of the album for my money.
As a sucker for long songs, I was pleased to see there was only one song below the five minute mark. While we’re not talking Opeth style lengths, the six-seven minute numbers gives the band ample opportunity to explore their talents rather than rely on poppy choruses to make an impact.
A particular highlight is the voice of Marie Rouyer. One moment she can be singing in a regular style, the next she can hit full on operatic notes that make you sit back a bit in surprise. The reason you sit back in surprise is because she doesn’t over use the ability. I sometimes feel a lot of singers with operatic ability try to fit it into every line and it becomes over used, like a guitar player who sweeps every solo. The “wow” factor gets diminished and you want them to dial it back. Rouyer maintains the “wow” factor, she sings with a lot of feeling and power, and when she does pull out the huge notes, like in Eve’s Last Daughter, it feels much more impressive and powerful.
It could be unfortunate or beneficial that the album comes at a time when Nightwish, arguably the main name in this type of metal, have released their latest single. With the drama surrounding the leak, other bands might get swept under the rug so to speak. On the other hand, it could make people hungry for more, and Whyzdom are waiting to provide.
This is an album that symphonic metal fans will easily enjoy and due to the rawer nature, people perhaps put off by symphonic metals usual over the top presence may find something to like here. All the musicians involved have brought their A game and as such, get a chance to individually shine along with working well together as a whole. The oft ignored bass even gets its spotlight during The Mask. The album is out now, so if you like an orchestra mixed in with your metal, you should definitely give this a go.
Symphony for a Hopeless God is out now via Scarlet Records, find the band on facebook for more