"Nocturnes and Requiems"

By Colonel Angus

Witherfall is a new collaboration between two guys who shared some time in White Wizzard and a drummer that spent some time in Circle II Circle.  Based on their bio, this album has been a long time coming with a start date back in 2014.  Well I’m happy to say, good things come to those who wait because “Nocturnes and Requiems” is great from start to finish.  When the first minute of “Portrait” hits you, musically it sounds very familiar (almost King Diamond-ish) but as the song progresses, it forms into a great prog metal tune with some really cool, eerie guitar work from Jake Dreyer.  “What We Are Dying For” continues the themes and style without sounding repetitive.  In fact, the whole record has a certain cohesive feel and I find myself listening to it straight through.  There isn’t a single dip in quality and each track has a number of twists and turns that keep this prog metal release interesting throughout.  Also, in keeping with prog metal tradition, the tracks are a bit longer with only “The Great Awakening” clocking in at under four minutes (I’m not counting the two instrumental tracks that are more intros than songs).  This is a great first album for Witherfall and hopefully this won’t be their last.

The strength of each musician here is only eclipsed by their ability to write good songs.  Jake Dreyer and Joseph Michael, having spent time together in White Wizzard, created a musical bond that together with Adam Sagan recorded this prog metal opus.  Sadly, Sagan passed away before this album was unleashed onto the world but I’m glad that it did see the light of day.  His drumming on "Nocturnes and Requiems" is thought to be his last recorded work and while he passed way too soon, this release is just further proof of that we lost a great talent in 2016.  The band is rounded off by bassist Anthony Crawford, who like the rest of the musos here, puts in a solid performance.  As I mentioned earlier, what makes "Nocturnes and Requiems" stand out from the pack is the quality of the tunes.  What many prog metal bands are missing is the melody that keeps the songs memorable.  Witherfall injects just enough melody into their tunes but stills keeps it dark and proggy.  My hope is that the loss of Sagan does not prevent Witherfall from delivering a follow up to "Nocturnes and Requiems".