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Witherscape biography
WITHERSCAPE is the common project of well-known composer, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dan SWANÖ (EDGE OF SANITY, BLOODBATH, NIGHTINGALE) with multi-instrumentalist Ragnar WIDERBERG. The project was in planning for a long time, resulting between the working relationship of the two and it resulted in the album ''Inheritance'' in 2013, released via Century Media.

The duo have invited a number of musical guests for this debut work, which bears the legavy of SWANÖ's previous works, combined with new ideas on guitars and bass by WIDERGBERG and should appeal to fans of melodic progressive death metal.

Biography by aapatsos

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The Northern SanctuaryThe Northern Sanctuary
Century Media 2016
Century Media Records 2013
$11.71 (used)
New Tomorrow (Ep)New Tomorrow (Ep)
$12.00 (used)

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WITHERSCAPE discography

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WITHERSCAPE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 23 ratings
3.82 | 19 ratings
The Northern Sanctuary

WITHERSCAPE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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WITHERSCAPE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 8 ratings
The New Tomorrow


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Northern Sanctuary by WITHERSCAPE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 19 ratings

The Northern Sanctuary
Witherscape Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Northern Sanctuary" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive metal act Witherscape. The album was released through Century Media Records in July 2016. Witherscape was formed in 2013 by Dan Swanö (vocals, drums, and keyboards) and Ragnar Widerberg (guitars, bass). The band released their debut full- length studio album "The Inheritance" in 2013 and "The New Tomorrow" EP followed in 2014. Dan Swanö is known for his involvement in acts like Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Bloodbath, and Pan.Thy.Monium., while Ragnar Widerberg was probably a bit less known to the metal scene, when Witherscape was formed. He has since been active in both Shadowquest and Witchcraft.

Stylistically "The Northern Sanctuary" pretty much continues the progressive death metal style of "The Inheritance (2013)". I say death metal, but it´s actually mostly the growling vocals which lead me to tagging the music that, because the instrumental part of the music only seldom touches death metal territory. Instead we´re predominantly treated to an epic keyboard heavy type of progressive metal with the occasional nod towards death metal, 70s hard rock, and goth rock. In a lot of ways Witherscape is a combination of elements from some of Swanö´s other projects. Most notably Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, and Moontower. So if you enjoyed the most melodic and progressive rock influenced part of Swanö´s career, but with a touch of death metal, the material on "The Northern Sanctuary" would probably be of interest to you.

The tracks are often layered and a lot of different things are going on at the same time. The soundscape is huge and even during the more mellow melodic parts there is a touch of epic atmosphere. At times a little restraint could have made the material a bit more tasteful, but on the other hand there is something a bit charming about music this loaded with big sounds and epic atmospheres. Swanö as usual delivers a strong vocal performance. His growling vocals are distinct sounding and powerful, and his clean vocals are skillfully performed too. He masters both melodic clean vocals and more raw hard rocking ditto. The instrumental part of the album is very well performed too and both guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards feature an equally important place in the soundscape.

"The Northern Sanctuary" features a powerful and detailed sounding production, which brings out the best in the music. The many intriguing songwriting ideas and the high level musical performances are also great assets, and overall "The Northern Sanctuary" is a high quality release by Witherscape. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

 Inheritance by WITHERSCAPE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.71 | 23 ratings

Witherscape Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Witherscape's 'The Inheritance', released in 2013, is the debut album from the two-piece Swedish extreme metal band, and is the latest in a long line of musical projects from Dan Swano, a musician known for his ground-breaking work with Edge Of Sanity and Nightingale, amongst others. As alluded to in both of my previous 'Crimson' reviews, Swano is a firm favourite of mine. He is an extremely skilled multi-instrumentalist, superb metal vocalist and amazing progressive composer who is able to merge a wide variety of rock and metal styles into cohesive and highly enjoyable compositions.

In this album Dan Swano plays drums, keyboards and provides the vocals. He is joined by guitarist Ragner Widerberg, who proves to be one of the surprise revelations on this album. For Widerberg this is his first studio album, but you'd never know it - he is an absolutely fantastic guitar player and has a wonderful playing style!

So what about the music then? I'd best describe 'The Inheritance' as a merging between the gothic progressive rock style found in Nightingale albums with the hard edge extreme metal from Edge Of Sanity as found on their 'Crimson II' album. The results are spectacular. There are highly melodic technical death metal riffs, brutal metal vocals but also some truly heartfelt clean vocal passages with beautiful acoustic music.

However, in a lot of ways the music on offer in 'The Inheritance' isn't all that ground-breaking, considering the year in which it was released. There are a lot of extreme metal bands combining musical styles these days. But in my opinion this album does more than enough to stand out against the crowd. 'The Inheritance' is very well composed, the riffs are highly memorable and there is enough variation throughout to hold your attention for the 40-minute running time.

There are some real progressive highlights on this album, in particular the track 'Dying For The Sun', which has a rather unusual muted acoustic guitar intro and very soft style before launching into probably the best metal riff on the album with an almost Rage Against The Machine style to it - highly rhythmic and funky! This song continues to progress through musical styles and to hear its growth is highly enjoyable. The keyboard section in this song is a great deal of fun, especially when Swano lays some death metal vocals over the top of it.

There are also more straight-forward moments on this album - I wouldn't classify this as an entirely progressive release but it does more than enough to warrant inclusion on the archives and might be one of the best extreme prog-metal albums from 2013. Recommended for fans of the style, 4-stars.

 Inheritance by WITHERSCAPE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.71 | 23 ratings

Witherscape Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Inheritance" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive death metal act Witherscape. The album was released through Century Media Records in July 2013. Witherscape is a two man project featuring Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Bloodbath...etc.) on vocals, drums and keyboards and Ragnar Widerberg on guitars and bass. Dan Swanö has long been one of the most prolific musicians and producers on the Swedish metal scene, but it´s been awfully quiet for some years in terms of him putting out new releases. As always he has participated as a guest vocalist on various projects and has also produced other people´s music, but actual new music written by himself have been sparse. I haven´t heard about Ragnar Widerberg before, but apparently he is a friend of Dan Swanö, who shares the interest in progressive death metal and after throwing ideas back and forth, the two of them decided to form Witherscape.

"The Inheritance" is a concept album concerning the inheritor of an estate in 19th century Sweden. It´s a dark concept theme which suits the atmosphere of the music well. The music is progressive death metal not completely unlike the "Moontower (1999)" album by Dan Swanö´s solo project or his most progressive moments with Edge of Sanity combined with the melodic and progressive elements of the early releases by the Nightingale project. An act like Opeth is also a valid reference. The vocals vary between clean and growling, and there´s great dynamic between heavy parts and more mellow sections. There are clever use of keyboards throughout the album, which occasionally gives the music a 70s progressive rock flair, but "The Inheritance" is still a metal album through and through. I also hear elements from goth (take a listen to the chorus in "Dead for a Day") and traditional heavy metal in the music. The quality of the music is high throughout, so it´s not the type of album where it would be fair to pick out highlights.

The musicianship is not surprisingly stellar. Dan Swanö delivers some powerful and raw growling and his clean singing is also very well performed. His drumming has also gotten better and better with the years and on this album the drums are both adventurous and well played. The contributions of Ragnar Widerberg are also considerable. His guitar playing is varied and his solos are well played and melodic.

"The Inheritance" is packed in a clear, professional and powerful sound production, which brings out the best in the music. It all adds up to quite a great first release by Witherscape. Great dark atmosphere, crushingly heavy riffing as well as melodic ditto, 70s progressive rock and hard rock/metal influences, excellent musicianship, intriguing songwriting and the above mentioned well sounding production are all great contributors to the 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating that I´ll give "The Inheritance".

 Inheritance by WITHERSCAPE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.71 | 23 ratings

Witherscape Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Witherscape is a new name on the progressive metal scene, but its members are rather seasoned, especially the vocalist/drummer/keyboardist (yes, all three), Dan Swano. He decided to collaborate with the guitarist/bassist Ragnar Widerberg to craft a new prog metal experience, and "The Inheritance" is what came out of that. I have been fairly impressed with the results, as it does seem to have some unique properties.

It's not often that we get a prog metal band with all the heavy trappings that also features some great synth. Illusion Suite did this earlier this year, and I hope this is a trend because a neo- prog style synth sounds great with heavy riffing. It really cuts through the dense atmosphere and you can literally feel your nervous system respond immediately. Again and again, right when the atmosphere gets a little too much, the synth slices in to make the track stand head and shoulders above the ones that don't have it. "Crawling from Validity", "Astrid Falls", and "The Inheritance" all feature some great synth that makes them my favorites on the album. The synth, however, lasts for a very short time, unfortunately.

Other than that, this band and album are pretty standard. The guitar is excellently heavy, while the drums and bass are average really. Swano has a great clean voice that is deep and steady, but he insists on performing death metal vox, too, which I don't like as much. It isn't horrible, but it isn't anything original either. Though, I must admit that you don't often hear this much harsh vox outside of a more extreme prog metal.

The album's theme revolves around a man that receives an inheritance in the form of a strange mansion where all sorts of weird things happen. It's a strange, horror movie-like theme, but it really doesn't affect me that much emotionally. I'm rather oblivious to it. In general, "The Inheritance" is an album that panders to metalheads, but never really does anything extraordinary outside of some short, but great, synth passages. I've heard this all before, even though it is done well. This, therefore, is a good album that will please metal fans, but prog metal fans may be a bit jaded by it.

Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition.

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