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Wuthering Heights - Within CD (album) cover

WITHIN

Wuthering Heights

Progressive Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I was heavily into prog metal of the softer kind at the time of this album´s release. Being from Denmark myself, a country not known for making much good music, I was thrilled to find that a danish band had made a progressive metal album. There is just one thing with this album though. It has folk leanings, and I´m not too happy with folk.

This is in fact more of a power metal album in my ears than a prog one. The lyrical themes underline this, being in the fantasy style. There is not much of interest for me here, as most of the songs are not that well composed, and the sound quality is just awful. One of the worst productions I have ever heard.

Main songwriter and band leader Erik Ravn has listened to a lot of Yngwie Malmsteen and it shines through in his guitarplaying. It´s so clearly a Fender he plays throughout the album.

As mentioned above the songs are not that well composed, but does have a lot of different parts and riffs, and therefore qualifying for prog archives. I have almost had this album for 10 years and only one song stand out from the rest: "To Great Thy Gift". This song defies bad sound quality and delivers the best chorus I have ever heard in a power metal song, which is quite the achivement. If you ever get the chance to hear this album, go straight for "To Great Thy Gift" and listen to that beautiful chorus. I sometimes take out this album just to listen to this chorus.

I´ll give this album 2 stars, only because of the beautiful chorus in "To Great Thy Gift". This might even be too much because frankly the rest of the album is only worth 1 star. I haven´t listened to the next albums from the band, but I´ve read that they should be much better.

Report this review (#152797)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars WUTHERING HEIGHTS was and still is the baby of guitarist, vocalist, bassist, keyboardist and sole songwriter Erik Ravn. Formed in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1999, this Danish band has featured a fair number of Swedish musicians over its two decade plus career with only Ravn remaining from the early lineups. Starting out as Angelica in 1989 and then changed to Minas Tirith, Ravn shifted gears and crafted a unique mix of power metal, progressive metal and folk music which at the time was fairly unique.

Fast forward through the 90s and by 1999, Ravn adopted the name WUTHERING HEIGHTS which despite making you think of the famous Kate Bush song about the English 19th century novel by Emily Brontë, in fact doesn't portend Ravn's infatuation with the novel or subject matter. In fact, WUTHERING HEIGHTS has always been fairly eclectic not only in the musical sense but in the lyric department as well with references to everything from Tolkien fantasy inspired worlds to simple good old-fashioned personal references.

WITHIN is the debut album which emerged the same year the band was officially formed and featured the lineup of Swedish singer Kristian Andrén as lead vocalist, bassist Kasper Gram, drummer Morten Nadgaard, keyboardist Rune Brink and Erik Ravn on guitars. With an album cover resembling something out of the Symphony X playbook, WITHIN does indeed deliver a crafty mix of progressively infused power metal that also exhibited a fair number of technical workouts as well as local Scandinavian folk flavors.

While considered a pioneer in the Scandinavian power metal scene for adopting folk music and more progressive compositions, other bands would soon follow with Sweden's Falconer and the Danish Manticora emerging around the same time. The band also featured similarities with Germany's Blind Guardian in how it deftly mixed classic 80s heavy metal and speed metal with the more modern sounds of power metal all the while adopting aspects of progressive rock with the extra features of folk. As with most power metal, WUTHERING HEIGHTS was primarily concerned with strong melodic hooks and clean powerful vocals but occasional engaged in some more extreme growly vocals.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS would become one of the biggest names in progressive power metal all throughout the first decade of the new millennium but on WITHIN, the band was still trying to perfect its formula into a seamless product that would really reach its full firing power until 2004's "Far From The Maddening Crowd" however WUTHERING HEIGHTS even by today's standards emerged as a unique sounding band that hit the ground running. The compositions are fortified with strong powerful melodic hooks and the instrumentation is distinct in how the various styles of metal switch things up to make a powerful debut.

Unfortunately WITHIN seems a bit clunky as well as the stylistic approach doesn't seem quite accomplished and i'm also not the hugest fan original singer Kristian Andren's vocal style. Of course this is a personal thing but it is detracting enough for me that i rarely visit these early albums but in the end WITHIN is a very well constructed album for the most part with a unique stylistic approach that the band would build upon to craft the more accomplished albums to come. Add to the positives, the production is really good and the band along with Royal Hunt kept Denmark relevant in the metal world after King Diamond, Merciful Fate and Artillery had put Denmark on the metal map.

3.5 rounded down

Report this review (#2523074)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | Review Permalink

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