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Dan Swanö is an undeniable talent and boon to the metal scene – particular that of progressive metal. Almost everything he’s done is worth hearing, and his latest endeavor, Witherscape, certainly follows suit. Initially, I was suitably impressed with The Inheritance, although further listening has dulled my initial glow somewhat.
I’ve found it hard to put a finger on what it is about this album that puts me off a little, and it’s with a heavy heart that I’ve come to realize that it is, perhaps surprisingly, in some of Dan’s usually fantastic vocals. He utilizes this gruffer approach to his cleans in certain places that, for some reason, is keeping me from enjoying this to its full extent, although the actual music contained within regularly verges on spectacular.
Guitarist Ragnar Widerberg is a relatively unknown name to me, I’m not sure where Dan found this guy, but armed with a moustache that would seek to bring out the green-eyed monster in every male character from the film Tombstone, and boasting an array of excellent licks and stupendous leads, Ragnar is a true talent. The guy leaks progressive metal mastery from his very pores, and complete with the dizzying heights of Dan Swanö’s song writing brilliance, the two create some absolute magic across The Inheritance.
The Inheritance is at its finest, I believe, lurking bang in the middle of the track listing. From the dazzling “Dead For A Day” which slightly recalls the likes of Edge Of Sanity’s “Black Tears” in terms of accessibility, all the way up to the Crimson II-style wonder contained in the excellent “The Math Of The Myth”, Witherscape shows exactly what they’re capable of. There are some moments which don’t work so well for me, housed in “Crawling from Validity”and“Mother Of The Soul”, although it isn’t anything so big as to detract from the album on the whole, and at least the former number houses a cracking mid-section.
Coming across as a mix between later Edge Of Sanity, Nightingale and Opeth with a few slivers of Moontower here or there, The Inheritance should, without a doubt, be high on the to-buy list of any Dan Swanö fan. The progressive metal pedigree displayed across the entire release should warrant a look in from fans of the style as well; hell, I’m sure melodic death metal fans might find some joy here too. Whilst there are some moments that leave me a little cold, for the most part this is a solid debut release with some real glimpses of brilliance housed in the heart of the album.
Originally written for http://blackwindmetal.com