In what is their first tour outside the US, dark melodic metallers Witherfall was recently stowed aboard as support for Sonata Arctica on their acoustic journey across Europe. To tie in, they release Vintage, a 40 minute EP centered around the penultimate track of their November 2018 release, A Prelude to Sorrow. While the EP is tie in to the tour, but there’s been no compromise in its integrity; it’s not just phoned in to have an extra EP to sell at the stands. The acoustic takes on Vintage, Nobody Sleeps Here and Ode to Despair are all made with the same conviction, heart and depth that ran through the veins of the originals, and especially the Vintage/Nobody Sleeps Here medley is harrowingly dark and emotional at once.
The Long Walk Home (December), released as a single about a year ago has also finally made its way onto a vinyl release. Tying in with the subject matter of the title song and befitting the style of the EP, it’s a nice addition, as are the two covers; Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down and Helloween ballad A Tale That Wasn’t Right. They are both perfect, dark renditions of their respective originals, with the former being an acoustic affair showcasing the dark presence of Michael and the softer side of Dreyer. The latter especially hits incredibly hard, incorporating more keys to welcome Alex Nasla to the fold, while Michael gives his very soul in the chorus, showing even legendary Helloween front man Michael Kiske who’s boss.
Likewise, Dreyer gets his moments in the aforementioned acoustic medley, turning some of his best riffing and lead work into darkly enchanting slower pieces. The ending of Vintage itself especially comes to mind being perfectly worked into an acoustic setting. Perhaps the only “downside” would be the inclusion of the original Vintage. While I can definitely stand hearing it more than once, being as how it’s one of the absolute best songs of the decade, it would be cool to hear at least one more song in an acoustic take from the first album, Nocturnes And Requiems (2017). What We are Dying For or even End of Time could have made great additions. Witherfall are just on a roll that doesn’t seem to slow down. This EP develops on the formula they’ve started on their two full lengths, while also showcasing the talents and diversity, delivering passionate prog metal to dark power metal in a hauntingly enthralling fashion.
Standout tracks: Vintage/Nobody Sleeps Here medley, A Tale That Wasn’t Right