So here is my second American symphonic metal album released this spring, the other being Dead World Reclamation‘s solid The Black Dahlia Murder with keyboards effort, Aura of Iniquity. I have no idea what or who a Wythersake is (google was no help), but on their debut album they offer up some solid if unspectacular symphonic, progressive black metal.

With a thematic backdrop of isolation, enlightenment, absolution and salvation (that some could construe as Christian, but nothing on the internet seems to indicate this), Antiquity is a bombastic affair that’s heavily influenced by Dimmu Borgir, and other 90s Scandinavian symphonic black metal, and some of the early/proto US symphonic bands that mimicked the sound (Dreamscape of the Perverse, Sanctus, Scholomance, Veneficum, Vesperian Sorrow) and utilize heavy keyboards with layers of orchestral bombast and choirs (though certainly, the latter is a bit Casio sounding and very heavy on the oohhhh and ahhhhhhs ).

The energy and skill are certainly here, especially the many leads of guitarists Gabriel Luis (Fallen Martyr) and ‘James’. and at times the band does lock into something really good such as the fervent bombast of 9 minute personal favoriteĀ  “Through Ritual We Manifest” or “Feast Upon the Seraph Within”. But within that heavily orchestrated sound, there is a little room for improvement in the overall songwriting, as not too many other riffs or moment s stand out over the bombast. “Unto Light” slows things down a little and closer “My Profane Goddess” ends the album with some real promise that these guys are on the cusp of something really good.

That all said, the vocals are also a bit of a weak point with a deeper half bellow that lacks authority and lots of Dimmu Borgir-ish spoken words and half-sung/chanted linesĀ  that take away from some of the songs in my opinion. Still, with some tweaks and improvements, I think these guys could deliver something special on the next effort.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 13th, 2021


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