The New Tomorrow EP
Changing things up and teasing us all
“Ooooh, there’s a new Witherscape EP on the way,” I thought to myself when I read the post on Facebook. Come to think of it, with the way that Facebook dictates what, who and how we see things these days, it’s bloody well amazing I saw that post at all. That aside, I am well chuffed to see that the Witherscape release has progressed from the Facebook “coming soon” post to something that’s actually real and tangible in my in tray. Ok, well, it’s as tangible as watermarked MP3s can be in this digital age. The bottom line is that Witherscape is one of very few new bands who really, truly, impressed the hell out of me in 2013 via their debut release The Inheritance. So it was with much excitement that I took to reviewing their latest release, an EP titled The New Tomorrow.
An EP this may well be but in reality, Witherscape fans are being treated to only one new Witherscape song overall. The title track, “The New Tomorrow”, certainly continues in the vein of 2013’s The Inheritance without missing a beat. From the riffs to the vocal stylings, the band’s first new track in well over a year is exactly as you’d expect from the pairing of Dan Swäno and Ragnar Widerberg. There’s perhaps a little too much of Swäno’s clean vocals if I wanted to be picky with this track. Sure they sound great, but a big part of the appeal of The Inheritance was the contrast between his clean and growled vocals. Their absence is noticeable here but musically, the track delivers what one should expect from Witherscape. It certainly doesn’t break the mould or colour outside the lines too much which isn’t a bad thing at all when it sounds this good.
The bulk of the material on The New Tomorrow is Witherscape’s interpretations of tracks originally performed by Warrior (“Defenders of Creation”), Kiss (“A World Without Heroes”) and Judas Priest (“Out in the Cold”) with the latter standing out as the most powerful non original track of the three. In the band’s opinion, the cover songs were chosen because “they are songs that resonate with us at their very core, but didn't necessarily have - in our humble opinion - the production or performance to portray their full glory”. That’s quite a bold statement but truth be told Witherscape have done just that. Modern day production and Witherscape’s imposing sound and Swäno’s powerful vocals have certainly given these classic ‘80’s tracks a new sense of power and heaviness.
The EP is wrapped up by an acoustic reworking of “Dead for a Day” (from the band’s 2013 debut The Inheritance) dubbed “Dead for Another Day” which shows a more diverse side to the duo than ever before. With the EP designed to be a musical bridge between The Inheritance and their sophomore long player which is due late 2015, clearly such a reworking is a taste of what we could expect next year. Whilst the power of the original isn’t there as you’d expect, if you view this is a standalone new track and forget about the original for a few minutes, then such a bold move certainly works well. I just hope the next album doesn’t go to the extremes of Opeth’s Damnation.
A bit over a year on from The Inheritance and The New Tomorrow will have to suffice in tiding fans over until sometime late next year. This is a fun EP that shows more of what this duo is capable of. Bring on the next one!
Century Media Records/EMI Music Australia
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