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Wuthering Heights - To Travel For Evermore
The second release from Wuthering Heights starts out with a beautiful keyboard intro, setting the mood for the album perfectly. Usually I end up skipping intros and outros, but Wuthering Heights really pull these off to perfection. This release is godlike from start to finish, no filler, and not once does it let down. The mood and atmosphere are amazing, and everything flows together perfectly. They are all very talented at their respective instrument, and it clearly shows. They really improved their songwriting since Within. Well, everything has improved, save for the vocals. The vocals are not bad by any means, but not quite as good as on Within. We're only talking about a difference of one point on the 1-to-awesome scale, though the memorable choruses and the amazing vocal lines make up for this. The guitar work is more flashy, and there's a fuckton of solos here. The bass is more audible, and the bass lines are generally more interesting than on Within. The bass rarely "just" follows the guitars. The drumming has definitely also improved - the drumwork is so much more interesting here than on Within, where the drums mainly focused on keeping the beat. The keyboards have also improved - more audible, and they play a much bigger role here. The Danes behind Wuthering Heights impressed me again. They improved perfection.
The hugest improvement, though, is the songwriting. The songs are interesting from start to finish (even the 8:50 instrumental, which has the best display of guitarwork I ever did hear), and the songs flow together perfectly. Talking about Battle of the Seasons, while an 8:50 instrumental on paper sounds difficult to pull off and keep the listener interested, they succeded. It's very memorable and interesting from start to finish. The instruments flow together perfectly, and it's a beautiful piece perfectly adding to the mood and atmosphere. While the mood on Within was more in the alone/depressed category this is sadness, but with a hint of hope. It's very difficult to describe and I encourage everyone interested in prog/EU power to check it out.
The folky influences remains, although they are not comparable to Far From the Madding Crowd in any way. Speaking of which, the outro sets the mood perfectly for the following album, something that makes me all moist down stairs. That the albums are able to be played back to back and still have a smooth transition is something I approve of. If it weren't for the obvious genre-changing, obviously. This is as different from Within as it is from Madding Crowd - To Travel For Evermore is more prog than Within, but Madding is more flat-out EU power metal than the two previous. Still, this adds to the experience and I like it when a band tries something new and it happens to work for them.
Songs worth mentioning would be Lost Realms for its especially catchy lyrics, and the follow-up, Battle of the Seasons. Despite their lengt not once do they let down the listener - those two songs are 17 minutes of godlyness, where you'll worship at the altar of Erik Ravns amazing guitar work. Through Within to Beyond is also worth mentioning, as it has some of the best and most memorable lyrics. The only thing I can think of to criticize is the tempo on the songs. While it generally works for them, some times I find myself wondering why they don't want me to headbang, as I can easily imagine some of the riffs sped up a bit.
So, in short, very unique, unmatched prog-power, and easily the best output by the Wuthering Heights guys. This will keep you interested from start to finish and make you want more.