Let’s leave out the fact that Perditus et Dea has been released in February – firstly, there’s no doubt that this album is no light fare, and secondly, it somehow got buried under the monstrous pile of releases we receive every week (the fact that I’m afraid of logging into our submissions e-mail account every weekend says it all). Nonetheless, I really wanted to write a review of Perditus et Dea, as Whispering Woods prove one thing: Even though symphonic metal isn’t significantly changing, there’s no need in copying Nightwish, Within Temptation or Epica in 2015 (or anytime).
First of all, The Romania-based band’s music actually contains many of the typical elements that match the label “symphonic”, classical vocals or the focus on beautiful and touching melodies to name some, we all are familiar with. However, there are some significant twists as well as some little gems on Perditus et Dea that unmistakably separate the band from average or even highly acclaimed symphonic metal acts.
The fact that Whispering Woods work with not only one, but two singers is one of them: Mezzo-soprano Corina Hamat and soprano Alexandra Burcă sound phenomenal together, playing around with different two-part harmonies and presenting their beautiful, strong and expressive classically trained voices (not the Simone Simons-type of “classical” vocals, to get that point straight). Flautist Cătălina Popa (Haggard) is also crucial for the band’s overall sound. All this is mixed with doomy guitar riffs, a dark atmosphere and some additional acoustic parts and Perditus et Dea is complete.
The track “Calusarii”, for example, definitely proves how great this mix can sound. It is the only track on the album with Romanian lyrics and contains everything from excellent vocals, doomy piano and guitar parts and beautiful flute melodies, resulting into a unique, dark atmosphere. “Poetica” has a gothic feel to it and even reminds me a bit of the beginnings of After Forever, while “Circle Complete”, “My Altar” and “Autumnal” present a slightly more energetic version of Whispering Woods.
Although so many things are on point on this album, it’s arguable if some parts are really necessary. A 50 minute record is perfectly fine, whereas it gets hard to stay focused for 65 minutes. I don’t really see any sense in tracks like “Farewell Ladybug”, which don’t sound bad at all but unfortunately fail to impress me. However, I wouldn’t say that they have a very huge impact on the album as a whole – there are enough fantastic moments that enchant the listener.
To sum up, it’s the mix of different subgenres that make Perditus et Dea a solid record with a lot of recall value. I personally haven’t heard such a well-crafted blend of sophisticated classical music, heavy doom and gothic metal and feather-light folk metal. You surely have to love true operatic vocals to like this record – but if you do, then feel free to give my fellow countrymen a listen below and get lost meanwhile …
01. Perditus (1:58)
02. Original Sin (4:49)
03. Demon Blood (4:51)
04. Calusarii (7:42)
05. Autumnal (5:38)
06. My Altar (5:44)
07. Farewell Ladybug (8:45)
08. Poetica (6:55)
09. If Ever (4:33)
10. Timeless (6:23)
11. Circle Complete (5:49)
12. Dea (2:50)
Playing time: 1:05:57
Release date: 26 February, 2015
Label: Loud Rage Music