Before 2016, WITHERFALL was a name few people had seemed to know about. However, their name quickly became more and more recognised as the American outfit demonstrated their blend of progressive, epic, and darker sides of metal works elegantly. Prior to the European release of their upcoming record, Nocturnes and Requiems, WITHERFALL received the tragic news that their drummer on the record, Adam Sagan, passed away. We listened to Nocturnes and Requiems to see how it stands, and how Sagan performed on the record.
Portrait kicks the record off to a dark start, with a solo overlooking introductory riffs before taking a step up into more progressive territory. Here, you can instantly see Sagan’s drumming talent as he supports guitarist Jake Dreyer and bassist Anthony Crawford before vocalist Joseph Michaels bellows clean, powerful vocals and brings the band together. While his vocals may seem a little off in places, it’s clear to see how well the band work together and become one, while managing to maintain their individuality and demonstrating their talents as clear as day. Sagan’s drumming abilities are excellent throughout the track (and the whole album), as is that of Jake and Anthony.
The record may seem relatively short, but each track is rather long and an individual journey full of powerful emotion. For example, in contrast to Portrait, What We Are Dying For is a significantly more metal-centred track, with frantic riffs and complex drumming behind Michael’s more aggressive vocals, which seem to be much stronger in this environment. While he can perform incredibly well in the more emotional and arguably softer tracks, his voice seems more at home in the heavier moments, especially whilst performing cracking highs during What We Are Dying For.
Where WITHERFALL really shine on Nocturnes and Requiems is the softer tracks that really pull at the heart strings, the clearest of which being The Great Awakening. Here, Michael is at his best, and it also helps to demonstrate how each member of the band stand out in their own special way in each song. The vocals from Michael in the aforementioned track, and Sagan’s drumming in Sacrifice. While they have their individual moments, they gel together as a band incredibly well, which only adds to the pain when thinking of the loss both WITHERFALL and the scene have experienced with Sagan’s death. From this record alone, he was a clearly talented musician who complimented the and excellently, which is a terrible shame, however he lives on through the elegance of this record.
Nocturnes and Requiems is an incredibly intricate album, but also a touching tribute to their late drummer Adam Sagan. Their combination of progressive elements with darker, heavier metal pair together excellently, and while the album has some weak points, it is overall a poignant and powerfully constructed record that will definitely grab the attention of listeners upon its European release. We’re interested to see what is next for WITHERFALL with the loss of Sagan, as their synergy was something rare and special.
Nocturnes and Requiems is set for release in Europe on October 6th via Century Media Records.
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