Before starting this review I must admit that I’m not a huge fan of progressive metal. Not ‘cause I don’t enjoy its complex odd time signatures or huge songs but simply because the majority of prog bands simply don’t or just refuse to sound metal anymore.
It’s like the majority of their members (all skillful players mostly) simply don’t wanna play heavy stuff and just want to sound “weird” or “intellectual”. What’s wrong with that one might ask? Well nothing really, it’s just not my thing since I like my music equally melodic as aggressive.
So far I feel that this particular genre has disappointed me and it gets harder and harder finding something that moves like albums from early Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, Lethal, Heir Apparent, Vauxdvihl (definitely check them) or Ayreon.
So upon reading the press release accompanying Wedingoth (who I was completely of) I was turned a little bit off. Now my disappointment increased upon seeing that these utilize female vocals courtesy of Maud Hernequet (ex-Céphée Lyra and at the moment ex-Wedingoth too!!!) since she got replaced by Céline Staquet after this album was completed. When I say disappointment I mean my distaste for female fronted bands with very few exceptions like the old battle dogs Chastain, Warlock, Doro, Zed Yago, Velvet Viper or BattleBeast (who have one of the best god damn female voices at the moment). The way I see it most of the time female singers tend to water down the aggressive side of music by favoring a more mellow and softer one. The cover of “Alone in the crowd” also turned me off since it looked a little bit naive as far as the concept goes and its quality is not that great too.
But prejudice isn’t a good way of listening to music or experiencing any kind of art so I tried keeping an open mind as possible.
Musically Wedingoth can be described as a band fusing progressive rock, metal, with a slightly modern touch. Evanescence came to mind a couple of times because of the vocal melodies/harmonies while the rest of the band contributed to that feeling too. Their sound can be described as rock/prog with its heavier side being mostly controlled and tone down. After an unnamed intro and the interesting tune “Alone in the crowd pt1” the album flowed without many surprises till reaching the seventh song titled “Beyond their Lies”. There Wedingoth showed all the mastery in creating sonic landscapes of rare beauty. Combining majestic keyboards that helped introduce a soundtrack dimension suited for a scifi film. Beautiful female vocals and aggressive male created a claustrophobic sense while the instrumental side of their music provided the way out!
Eighth song kicked in titled “Alone in the crowd” proved to be an equal if not better successor. On this song Wedingoth sound heavy as fuck and also introduce various elements that I’ve only encountered in Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon beloved albums. At the end of the song I could only press repeat and travel to Wedingoth’s universe again. Must mention that last 2 songs have a total length of 22minutes!! Samples, effects, percussion, strings are just tools for these guys to create an atmosphere of their desire. The result elevates them to masters of their art.
If only this album had more moments like this then I’d be talking of a monumental piece of music.
“Alone in the crowd” isn’t an album without weaknesses (or at least I can’t identify with it all the way). But Wedingoth isn’t a band aiming of impressing listeners on first hearing. No, this French band (that already have 2 more releases in their 9 years of existence) wants to captivate you in a world of nightmares and dark inner thoughts. If you're searching for a band combining elements from bands like Dream Theater (and who doesn’t), Ayreon, or Fates Warning’s more depressive side then Wedingoth are for you.
Check them out and you won’t be disappointed but keep in mind to leave all kinds of prejudiced thoughts behind ‘cause only then you can appreciate the beauty of their work.
Written by Manos Xanthakis
Wedingoth Official Website