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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Wuthering Heights

Salt

Review by Gary Hill

While this band creates some strong epic metal and this is a strong disc, it’s not without its share of shortcomings. The first of them is that there just isn’t enough variety in the music. Sure, nearly every song is modified and altered multiple times, but after a while even that rapid alteration process seems redundant. There just aren’t enough bits of variety to keep the whole ride from blending together. The other main issue is the closing track (a cut of serious epic proportions). The issue with that piece is that it doesn’t feel like one piece. There’s no real cohesion to it. It feels like they stuck a lot of unrelated things together just to achieve an epic length. With those flaws listed, though, this is a strong album. Any song (with the possible exception of the last one), taken by itself would be extremely potent. It’s just when you listen to them one after another that they tend to get a little lackluster.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Away!

Starting with a sound that makes me think of a team of rowers moving a big ship, the album is started. The group launch into a short epic metal piece from there. This essentially serves as an introduction to the next piece from there.

The Desperate Poet
The vocal arrangement here feels like an extension of the previous piece, but the music seems a bit more involved and somewhat unrelated. It drops back to a short, rather classical section, but then fires out into even more fiery metal. It works through a number of changes and there is a killer rock ballad section later.
The Mad Sailor
A much mellower number at first, this still feels musically related to the previous number. It powers out to more epic metal and there are some hints of old world music in the mix here and there. I’m reminded of Helloween quite a bit later. 
The Last Tribe (Mother Earth)
The powerhouse movement that leads this off makes me think of both Helloween and Manowar. It drops back to an almost symphonic rock ballad motif from there, though. There are definitely some old world sounds woven into this arrangement, but it powers up into more metallic sounds for the chorus. This is one of the most dynamic cuts and works through a number of various changes. It’s quite prog-like in a lot of ways. 
Tears
With that title you might expect a ballad. You’d be wrong. This is a powerhouse epic metal cut – at least on the introduction. There are some Celtic type elements to this piece. They do drop it down to some mellower movements here and there. It doesn’t stay there long, though. In fact, it doesn’t remain in any one place for very long. This is another extremely dynamic and powerful piece of music.  
Weather The Storm
Another dynamic and far-reaching epic metal piece, this is good (and quite powerful) but it is all starting to feel a bit too similar by this point. That said, the extremely sedate (nearly new age or opera/classical music) section on the piece is a nice touch and a bit of variety.
The Field
The motif that leads us out here makes me think of old school thrash. They take it through a couple of epic metal changes before dropping back to a very old world kind of metal ballad mode. From there it eventually works out to territory that’s more like the rest of the CD. We do get a few metal moments that have a different sort of style than the rest of the disc later. 
Water Of Life
A purely folk meet Celtic ballad, this is a great change of pace.
Lost At Sea
Almost seventeen minutes in length, this is a true epic metal epic. Starting with the sounds of the ocean, this powers out into a pretty typical (and that means oft changing arrangement) epic metal jam that doesn’t seem all that different from the majority of the music here. This is actually a scorching metal jam early on, but it’s just so much “more of the same”-like that it’s hard to appreciate it by the time you’ve gotten here. They drop it down to balladic at points and this changes a lot. There is one segment that makes me think of a heavier old Rush sound. They do really take us through a serious cavalcade of changes, but a lot of them just don’t seem related. In many ways it feels like they just glued a bunch of unrelated song sections together to make a bigger piece. It’s a bit of an example of someone’s reach over-extending their grasp. Yes, they can create a piece of music that’s over sixteen minutes, but no, it doesn’t really feel like one composition.
 
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