The progressive metal world just got a little brighter. Formed in 2011 in Norway by Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (g), Ketil Ronold (k) and Frank Nordeng Røe (d), Withem is a young band with some exceptional talent. On the strength of their material they signed a deal with prog label Sensory Records for the release of their first album, The Point Of You. Also, they got an invite from ProgPower USA and will perform there next year. That's all rather impressive for a band only two years old.
So you're asking, is Withem that good? Yeah, pretty darn good. The music of The Point Of You is strong mixture of classic heavy and power metal, with swerves of prog through tempo and time signature changes. Yet, this is not overly technical stuff; Withem is not trying to impress you with so many shifts and diversions that you can't keep up.
The music is balanced by a strong sense of melody, the unusually tight cohesiveness of the musicians, fine tuned arrangements, and rather formidable voice of Ole Aleksander Wagenius. He's got the pipes for sure: strong, clear and versatile, reminding at times like a cross between Tommy Karevik and a low register Geddy Lee.
Musically, Withem reminds one of mixture Dream Theater, Pagan's Mind, and Oliva. The first for the briskness of the arrangements and the often tag team guitar and keyboard play as within Burned By Senses. The second because Withem easily uses a power metal motif without making you believe you're getting it with your progressive metal. You'll find this with Miracle and Mr. Miruz. And Oliva, notably for the emphasis on melody and the clarity of the arrangements. The entire album is an example of this. Yet, when all these things work together, the results can be colossal and inspired as with The Paramount Of Lies. Alternatively, if you're a fan of progressive power metal, you'll find Withem working in familiar territory. You might not want to say it's been done before, but it has. Withem simply puts a fresh and encouraging spin on this venerable genre, which always needs a breeze of fresh air. The Point Of View is easily recommended.
While working in the familiar territory of progressive power metal, upstart Withem puts a fresh, encouraging, and entertaining spin on this venerable genre, which always needs a breeze of fresh air.
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