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Glorious. It really is. It took me two or so years before finally looking into this album. I mean, why should I? It's a release from the 00'ies, it's not a part of the trilogy and the only original members are Erik Ravn and Morten Sørensen (still same vocalist from "Madding", though). But I guess this just goes to show that Erik Ravn is, as I have always assumed, godlike. Divine. That this album would be better than it's predecessor and that it would come to be my favourite WH album caught me by suprise. As my reviews show, I am quite in love with "To Travel for Evermore" and "Far From the Madding Crowd", and usurping these albums would be quite a difficult task.
On this release WH has dumped their folk influences from earlier albums, which is both a good and a bad thing, but mostly good. Sure, some may miss the folk influences, but this album really works well without, and there is absolutely no need for it to sound folky. Straight up prog-power, a genre I usually avoid since it's riddled with pretentiousness, wankery and a general lack of testicles. Not WH, oh no. Well, there's still wankery and hints of pretentiousness, but all in good taste. WH realise they are better than everyone else, but they're not rubbing it in your face. I would compare with how I can still enjoy Axel Rudi Pell despite the overwhelming cheese. It's tasteful. Also, the guitar wankery is justified. Erik Ravn is a god on the guitar, and the awesome soloes, despite being plentyful and REALLY awesome, are never the focusing point of the music.
Musically, not much has changed. Imagine Madding Crowd, stripped of it's folky vibes, except a metric fuck-ton more incredible. The "new" vocalist is still as talented (see Sleep for proof of his amazing vocal technique, sadly otherwise the weakest song on the album), Erik Ravn is dominating your ears, the drumming has improved and is now much more interesting, the bass lines are equally amazing and so is the keyboards. An album of pure, concentrated awesomeness. I couldn't for the life of me recommend anyone a specific song, since they are all winners. From the incredibly cool and memorable lyrics on Demon Desire and Beautifool to the incredibly atmospheric Apathy Divine saga to the ballsy, speedy I Shall Not Yield to the closer Carpe Noctem. They are all winners.
I wish it was possible to rate an album more than 100, because this album would easily deserve it. Perhaps it's a good thing, since if they keep this up the upcoming album will be better than this, and I'd have to work even harder on breaking the scoring scale.