Power of Metal.dk Review

The Point of You
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 8 October, 2013
Playing time: 48:23

Releasing your debut progressive metal album around the same time as releases from veterans Dream Theater and new stalwarts Haken takes quite a bit of guts. New band Withem has done just that, and I am pleased to say that I think they deserve attention from all prog metal fans. These metallers from Norway are certainly influenced by the likes of Dream Theater, so I feel that a comparison is appropriate. More on that later, though.

Yes, Withem plays progressive metal in the vein of DT, Symphony X, and even Circus Maximus. That is not to say, however, that they do not have their own identity. While those other bands often showboat for the sake of technicality, Withem seems to use it more for propelling forward their vision of progressive metal. So, their style is fast-paced, melodic, heavy-hitting, with plenty of piano, too. However, unlike the other bands mentioned, I feel that they allow more focus on the keyboards. Sure, the guitars are heavy and incredibly well-performed. The drums, too, are remarkable. The keys, however, are varied and at the forefront when the times comes. One thing I've never liked about Dream Theater is the band's seeming insistence on Petrucci's guitars being loud as heck. Withem, on the other hand, has far more balance, focus, structure, and point to their music. Yes, I'd possibly point to Circus Maximus and Seventh Wonder more as counterparts then anyone else.

The album starts off strongly with the incredible track “The Point of You”, but quickly bests itself with “Phrenesis”, “Burned by Senses”, and the stunningly epic "A Paramount of Lies" and “Driven by a Blessing”. Unique, though somewhat simple, melodies drive these tracks to achieve climaxes and truly fantastic passages. However, the best song, without a question, is “Mr. Miruz”. It begins with a sublime vocal passage paired with a low-tuned groove that, my goodness, sounds so ethereal to my senses. My second favorite is "Why Me?" with its synthy sound and awesome vocal passages. Speaking of vocals, I'm happy to say that I very much enjoy Wagenius' voice. He avoids the caterwauling of Labrie, but manages to soar to the heights at the same time. He also has a great low end tone, giving him great range that I wasn't expecting. Again, I think a good comparison to Tommy of Seventh Wonder and Michael of Circus Maximus could be made, as the vocals sound like a great median between the two.

This is a wonderful debut from Norwegian metallers Withem. I was very excited to hear their work finally, as I've been following their Facebook page for a while now. They have the energy, the compositional skills, the instrumental finesse and proficiency, and the sheer willpower to take the progressive metal scene by storm. Yes, the music isn't wildly innovative or new, but it is fresh and very well done. And, heck, it's far better than Dream Theater's pretentious new release. There, I said it. Withem's debut is better than the new Dream Theater by far. Take that as you will.

01. Point of You
02. Miracles
03. Phrenesis
04. Burned by Senses
05. Mr. Miruz
06. Born to Live
07. The Paramount of Lies
08. Driven by a Blessing
09. Why Me?
Label: Sensory Records
Distribution: Sensory Records
Artwork rating: 80/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 10 October, 2013
Website: Withem @ Facebook