Wuthering Heights, "To Travel for Evermore"
Just when I thought that all the knowledge gained in high school was useless, the Danish metal act known as Wuthering Heights brings back the memories from my junior year English class. Along with the mandatory Beowulf and The Scarlet Letter, one other assignment that did not make much sense back then was Emily Bronte's 1847 literally work of love, passion, and revenge known as Wuthering Heights.
Well, that was then, and this is now; all the aforementioned works have secured their respective places on my books to admire list. Yet, somehow I find it a novelty that a band would name itself after such a dramatic book. Yet, whatever the reason might have been, the main character of both plots (To Travel for Evermore and Wuthering Heights) is a wanderer who sees the world from a unique point of view - only a speculation on my part.
The band's music is best described as symphonic speed/progressive metal. Yet, while such bands are dime a dozen throughout Europe, Wuthering Heights is actually quite good. Guided by the mastermind guitarist/bassist/keyboardist extraordinaire, Eric Ravn, Wuthering Heights creates some memorable compositions. What makes Wuthering Heights standout from the pack is the guitar work of Eric Ravn. While his playing style is somewhat similar to virtuoso guitar work by Michael Romeo (Symphony X), Ravn is inspired more by the folk and traditional music rather than classical like Romeo. This is clearly seen in the two strongest tracks on the album, Dancer in the Light and the instrumental, Battle of the Seasons. The folk melody in Dancer in the Light (0:54-1:04 and 2:17-2:37) is reminiscent of Eastern European folk music and the guitar solo in Battle of the Seasons (4:00-4:06 and 4:14-4:19) sounds like Ravn's take on Monti's Hungarian dance called Chardash.
My two main complaints on To Travel for Evermore come in the production department. First of all, the kick drum is mixed way too high. It often distracts me, especially during the beginning of The Nevershining Stones. The vocals also sound too "up-front," which creates the feeling that Kristian Andren is singing in your ear. Moreover, the lack of reverb on his vocals makes them sound a bit unrefined.
However, the overall skill showcased on To Travel for Evermore and the band's ability to write catchy songs makes this one a keeper. Fans of Symphony X, Adagio, and Angra will be pleasantly surprised with To Travel for Evermore. This album sounds fresh and exciting compared to many of its contemporaries and should be a welcome addition to the collection of traditional metal fan as well as those into more progressive metal.
Dancer in the Light