Whyzdom - Of Wanderers and Wars
Scarlet Records
Symphonic Metal
10 songs (59'12")
Release year: 2021
Whyzdom, Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Alex

Spelled with an obvious “twist” French Whyzdom are blessed with lineup stability pretty much throughout their existence, conviction in their dedication to symphonic metal craft and forcefully operatic female singer Marie Mac Leod. Since combining heavy metal and orchestration has stopped being a novelty after the last 25-30 years, or ever since metal musicians learned to produce their music using orchestral arrangements, relying on symphonics can no longer save a band if there is no substance beyond such symphonic facade. Just about every band in this genre, at least in my mind, gets dissected along this crucial faultline. Whyzdom was no exception and even though Of Wanderers and Wars was my first experience with them, they largely passed the test even if I didn’t become the band’s overnight fan after this album. The main conclusion after listening to the hour-long album for a few spins is that these compositions can stand on their own two feet, the symphonic approach of Whyzdom is wholesome and integral to their sound, not a production clever way to pull mediocre songs out of the doldrums.

Hitting the hammer on the anvil riffs with syncopated rhythms and mini-explosions going off (Wanderers and Dreamers, Ariadne, The Final Collapse), something that Evergrey also does real well, putting expanse in just about every composition (Pyramids) and sprucing them with gliding, almost obligatory solos (Wanderers and Dreamers, Child of Damnation) Whyzdom is very pleasant to listen to, but probably short of breathtaking. There is a lot of respect I felt for these thoughtful, well-crafted songs, boosted to additional heights by the powerful rising voice of the female vocalist. If you are a fan of Nightwish, After Forever or Epica, this is just as good and belongs in the similar pantheon, although Whyzdom has little gothic connotation to it. The songs here can be heroic and absolutely dramatic (Ariadne), softer and quasi-balladic (Touch the Sky) or darker, yet still somewhat playful (Child of Damnation). The hooks are dropped everywhere and you will scatter your brain cells trying to follow many melodic inflections. Not sure if Of Wanderers and Wars is conceptual, or if songs are loosely related and following a pattern, but some titles here make total sense, like cathedral towering Notre Dame, airy mysterious Stonehenge, but some are a little too joyous and nutty for their title (War).

There will be little to pick on with this album, if you think that operatic symphonic metal is the culmination of the extreme music genre. If you belong to the school that metal needs to be all burning emotion, nihilistic and devoid of formal musical education, Of Wanderers and Wars (and I suspect Whyzdom in general) has to be avoided. It still wouldn’t hurt for a lot of us to once in a while feast our ears on those who can read classical music and operate within its terms. It is fairly clear Whyzdom is from that cohort and my hat is off to them, but not my heart.

Killing Songs :
Child of Damnation, Ariadne, The Final Collapse
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Whyzdom that we have reviewed:
Whyzdom - From The Brink Of Infinity reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 70 / 100
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