"The Point Of You"

By Colonel Angus

The progressive metal genre has been growing in leaps and bounds these last few years.  Groups have been taking the Dream Theater/Symphony X template and trying to bring some new elements to make it unique.  Some bands have been able to set themselves apart from the pack but others don’t quite hit the mark.  Sensory Records are responsible for releasing this debut album from Withem.  "The Point Of You" succeeds in being a very good release from talented musicians but I did not find it very unique.  I’m in no way discouraging you from getting this disk.  In fact, I would recommend it to anyone who likes Dream Theater and Symphony X but I caution everyone reading this that you will not be experiencing “new” sounds. 

Withem is more than a copy band as they do attempt to bring in other elements but at the end of the day, they don’t change the overall sound of the songs.  Now, that being said, you can’t go wrong with tracks like “Phrenesis”, “Why Me!”, and “Burned By Senses”.  All of these cuts have great riffing and just enough progressive touches to make them interesting without taking over the songs.  One thing that these guys have achieved is know when to stick with a good groove and not changing the tune just for the sake of making it more prog.  Opening tune “Point Of View” adds in some nice symphonic metal elements without overdoing it and the almost hair metal sounds of “Born To Live” really breaks up the record nicely.  All in all, not a bad song in the bunch; just not very original.

Withem consists of musicians I have not heard of before but let it be known, these guys know their way around their respective instruments.  Oyvind Voldmo Larsen comes up with some really catchy riffs and tasteful solos.  As mentioned earlier, the riffs are given time to groove without being changed just for the sake of showing off or trying to make it more prog.  Really good musicians know that writing a great song is more important that showing off (that is what guitar solos during concerts is for) and Larsen proves that he is all about the music.  Frank Nordeng Roe provided drums and you can too makes things interesting by not overdoing his drum fills.  He adds just the right amount of flourishes while still keeping a steady base for the rest of the instruments to build upon.   Andres Blomqvist (from Seventh Wonder) helps out on bass.  Ketil Ronold handles keyboard duty and aside from some symphonic metal moments, he gives the overall sound more of a progressive metal sound.  He does add a lot to the overall sound but not really in an overpowering way like in most symphonic metal bands.  Last but certainly not least, vocalist Ole Aleksander Wagenius puts in a great performance.  His vocals soar all over "The Point Of You".  Basically, there is not a weak link in the group and you would be hard pressed to find fault in any of their performances.

So, as a recap, what you have here is a bunch of talented musicians who wrote a record of very good songs but overall nothing unique.  Some people may look at this negatively but I don’t mean to dissuade anyone from checking these guys out.  On the contrary, I find "The Point Of You" a very good listen and will probably be listening to them in years to come.  If you are looking for something that is new and mind-blowing, then you will not find it on this disk.  But let’s face it, when was the last time you truly heard something so unique come out of the metal world.  At the end of the day, instead of looking for the next “new” thing, treat yourself to something that maybe has been done before but done really well.