In dazzling technical ecstasy, the upcoming Witherfall album Curse of Autumn is a triumph of songwriting and brilliant musical performance.
Curse of Autumn is the third full-length album by Witherfall. This album will certainly be one of the best albums of 2021. Every song on this masterpiece is enthralling and ingenious. Witherfall has managed to dovetail the orchestration of Queen, the musical fortitude of Dream Theater, and the dark anger of Nevermore into a unique and epic version of metal music.
For those unacquainted, Witherfall is Joseph Michael (vocals/keyboards), Jake Dreyer (guitar), Anthony Crawford (bass), and Marco Minneman (drums). While on tour (which hopefully will be happening this year), Alex Nasla provides keyboards. Production was handled by Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) with engineering by Jim Morris of famed Morrisound Recording.
The opening prelude called “Deliver Us Into The Arms Of Eternal Silence” begins with delicate tension and rapidly builds into a torrent of controlled chaos. The music expresses feelings of anxiety and loss of control. You feel the futile fear and anger of death’s approach. A study of rage and questioning of emotions permeates this album.
The prelude gives way to “The Last Scar.” Infernal fury and the sweet intoxication of revenge explodes from this song. Joseph Michael transcends his work on prior Witherfall albums here on Curse of Autumn. This song and the amazing “…And They All Blew Away” are prime examples of Joseph at his peak. He has always exhibited a startling range, but on these songs and throughout this album, the nuance in timbre is amazing. The deathly growls add a great touch of menace.
There is no doubt that each musician in Witherfall is at the top of their game on Curse of Autumn. The guitar of Jake Dreyer is on fire from start to finish. His palette overflows with tones and he uses a variety of brush strokes to add gentle color or bristling attack. Jake’s guitar solos are classical compositions that fortify each song. Take a listen to “Another Face” as he briefly channels Brian May. Jake is one of the most expressive and gifted musicians in metal music today. He ranks right up there with Loomis, Broderick, Petrucci, and Schuldiner.
Not to be outdone in the fretboard wizardry department is Anthony Crawford. His playing is gorgeous. Anthony is more of a second guitarist than a rhythmic element. His bass adds to the harmonic richness of songs such as “The Other Side of Fear” and “The Unyielding Grip Of Each Passing Day.” The mix thankfully ensures that his expressive playing is not lost under a blanket of guitar like in so many other metal releases.
Last but not least, the masterful pyrotechnical drumming of Marco Minnemann needs to be mentioned. His playing is crisp, engaging, and brutal. Listen to the pummeling double bass, cracking snare, and marvelous tom rolls on “The Other Side Of Fear”. Pay particular attention to his precision and attack at about the 2:30 mark. It is stupendous.
Curse of Autumn by Witherfall is a breathtaking work of art. They even cover a Boston song and remake it as only Witherfall can. This is metal music that will appeal to fans across the various sub-genres. Get your copy of Curse of Autumn on March 5th via Century Media.