Blind? the new album and return of French philharmonic metallers Whyzdom, is a release to leave mouth, senses, and heart in their individual ways, wide open in awe. It is a stunning album, a startling world of symphonic and power metal caressed and shaped into something magnificent and epic, and most of all distinctly Whyzdom. Released through Scarlet Records, it follows their acclaimed 2009 debut album From The Brink Of Infinity and as good as that was the new release proves it was only the beginning of something wonderful.
Formed in early 2007 by guitarist and orchestrator Vynce Leff, the band was soon drawing strong responses from media and fans alike with first release, the Daughter Of The Night EP, which appeared less than six months after the inception of the band. Their blend of orchestral and symphonic imagination and sounds soon led them to awards and numerous festivals appearances, many as headliners, with their debut album only elevating their rapidly rising reputation and recognition worldwide. The departure of their vocalist in 2010 led to a long search for a replacement with Lisa Middelhauve, former Xandria singer, standing in as a guest vocalist for performances at the 2010 Raismes Fest and for a show in Paris supporting Tarja.
It was with the arrival of Elvyne Lorient to the band in February of this year that the quest was over and wow, what an addition she is. Blind? is a total triumph and the voice of Lorient as major an ingredient to its success as the inventive and stirring brilliant sounds. The album title has a dual reference to firstly the blindness of people towards what is happening around them and also how people choose to be blind in uncomfortable circumstances which eventually lead to wrong decisions and paths in life.
As opener The Lighthouse turns its epic aural charms upon the ear, guitars dazzling with a burn to their sonic touch, Lorient caresses and owns the ear with vocals which envelope and seduce. Avoiding the full blown operatic indulgences many of the genre singers seem to offer she sings with a delivery, range, and expression which is instinctive, organic, and irresistibly mesmeric. The sweeping orchestral weaves around her are delicious, their enveloping kisses emotive and evocative whilst the bass growls and sturdy rhythms keep shadows and intensity as full and dramatic as the dazzling melodic enterprise. It like many that follow, is a piece of songwriting which pulls you completely into its personal world, the perpetually dawning surges and triumphant crescendos as inciteful and invigorating as any rising unobstructed sun.
Dancing With Lucifer and On The Road To Babylon both transport heart and thoughts into realms of twisting gritty energies and pulsating melodic grandeur with hypnotic skill and emotion, each track an ever evolving canvas of emotion, vision, and brewing aural expanses. It is Cassandra’s Mirror sitting gloriously between the pair though which steals not only top honours out of the three but for the whole vast show. With folk whispers entwined around the uncompromising metal confrontation and the soaring orchestral elegance merged within a furnace like passion, the track is a raging tempest of energy and uplifting drama.
It is hard to find the words to fully represent the impressive presence and might of Blind?. From beginning to end it is a stunning piece of imagination and creativity, with the beautiful Paper Princess, The Foreseer with its perfect combination of extremes and perpetually unveiling, and the colossal closer Cathedral Of The Damned, just three of the exhilarating pinnacles of the senses blowing, heart bursting theatre. The final track makes the word epic feel so small as a declaration of its immense power and stature, the musicianship, arranging, and sheer magnitude of emotive imagination sheer captivation and pleasure.
Whyzdom return to take their place as one of the most innovative and imaginative symphonic metal bands in recent years whilst Blind? makes a late challenge for the best album to grace and light up the year.
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