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Folk metal is all about melody. But unfortunately it’s not always all about metal. I should know, I own some of the stuff. It’s not bad at all. But in my book only two bands can do both folk and metal: Elvenking and Wuthering Heights.
If Elvenking is pagan forest folk metal, then Wuthering Heights is the lonely wanderer kind. Elvenking I’ve reviewed elsewhere as underrated full stop. Wuthering Heights is likewise a hundred times the folk and/or power metal band that the majority of clone bands are.
“The Nevershining Stones” has concert favourite written all over it. This one’s in a hurry with riffing that slices its way like a sword through a forest backed up by a flawless old school metal gallop. “Dancer In The Light” threatens to do a slow motion goth metal turn before the lights go up and you get the strangest little melody dancing all over the place. In other words a glimpse of prog, but a chorus (a REAL chorus) all the same.
“Lost Realms” is 8 minutes long and tailor made prog for people who don’t like prog. In fact for people who despise prog. How do they manage to pull this miracle off? Melody and lots of it, and all woven into solos that actually add to the song. Not a note of pointless jamming in sight.
“A Sinner’s Confession” unfolds in 3 parts, and is yet another example of how to pull off prog without anyone noticing. The music is catchy in the same way that a folk song repeats in your head, or a power metal hook that won’t let go. This song somehow manages to do both. And boy is this one angry, bitter and very, very heavy number. ‘See Tomorrow Shine’ is nowhere near as harsh, but every bit as catchy. The power metal element momentarily takes back the speed metal mantle - and the wanderer is back on the run.
‘To Travel For Evermore’ is actually the second album of the wanderer trilogy. The third album is the masterpiece of the three, but the basic fact is that you need all three to get a complete picture of what’s going on here. But this is the release that marks the moment Wuthering Heights really arrived as a force in folk metal.