The Northern Sanctuary
Release Date: 22 July 2016
Review by Matt Bolton
Dan Swanö, the man responsible for being part of such important extreme acts as Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath and Nightingale, performs vocals, keyboards and drums. He’s joined by multi-instrumentalist Ragnar Widerberg on guitars/bass for the duos third offering and the follow up to the 2014 EP, The New Tomorrow. The new Witherscape record is destined for great things and is a strong contender for one of the best albums to come out this year.
The keyboards that start things off on opening track, Wake of Infinity, make room for the pounding drums and constant riffage. There is an early Opeth vibe heard in the guitar and bass riffs laid down by Ragner and the growls courtesy of the mighty Swanö. There are no fillers here, it’s not easy to pick track highlights as you get the catchy choruses with clean vocals giving the album an epic metal feel.
The galloping bass and guitar crunch is enough for Dream Theater to take shelter on, Rapture Ballet. What starts as what could be a ballad turns out to be full blown metal blast, which fans of Iced Earth would appreciate on, The Examiner. Showing the band are capable of making a 3-minute progressive Townsend inspired sing-a-long on Divinity, to an epic 13-minute slab of metal excellence on title track, The Northern Sanctuary.
There really is no way that you could fault this record and it shows that it only takes two great minds to make such a definitive release one that will stand the test of time. Get on it otherwise you’ll be missing out on some classic metal.