Wuthering Heights. A Power Metal/Folk Metal outfit from Denmark.. I must think carefully how to approach this band in a way that doesn’t overlook the talent of each individual in the band while at the same time avoiding alienating all the folk metal fans out there. I will do so by telling you a little bit about me, as this is my site and said site is merely a thinly veiled excuse for me to talk about myself. I lure you in with promises of metal discussion and then end up talking about that time my friend Roddy brought over Vampire: The Masquerade, a Vampiric D&D clone, and made us all play. But I digress, sort of.
One time my friend Roddy brought over this game called Vampire:The Masquerade and insisted we all play, and of course, he would be dungeon master. I’d never been keen on vampires, despite reading some Anne Rice and having sporadic Buffy marathons (read:excuses to eat lots of junk food) with my best friend and her mom. Needless to say, by the time I had created my vampire, aptly named something pretentious like “Gabriel” or “Draven”, and we had found ourselves in a locked room with no obvious way of getting out (my continued request to turn into a bat and fly out the barred windows was met with exasperation from our novice DM), I was pretty much over pen and paper roleplaying games. A similar attempt to play D&D had me creating an Arcane Archer, only to become annoyed at the slow pace and overdramatic requirements my dungeon master demanded, like creating a storyline for the characters (I just wanna level up my guy, dammit). Surely, fantasy isn’t for everyone.
And in that vein, it is clear that folk metal isn’t for all of us. Although while listening to the “Salt” album on my walk home from work, I found myself smiling more often than not at the sheer cheesiness and even more so, the bravery in creating an album like this. Having little to no experience with the genre, I knew there was music like this from my Diablo II playing days and my brief stint living with 3 World of Warcraft addicts. I know that as nerdy as I get, I will never feel at home at a renaissance fair and I’ll never enjoy any live action role playing adventures. This seems like music for a group I will never belong to. I must admit that if Vikings were still around conquering stuff, I’m pretty sure they’d want their victory songs to be performed by this band, not some of the bands labelled as “Viking Metal”. Especially as this album has a nautical concept.
While I walked and listened, different thoughts kept dancing around in my head. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, I smiled at the cheesiness. Then I wondered if American Psycho would have been better if this band was playing in the background of the murders instead of Huey Lewis and the News. Then I imagined if I were to meet this band, would they take what they do very seriously? Would they be arrogant about it? CAN you be arrogant while singing lyrics like “Abra-macabra, baby, here we go!” I wondered, can people who like this music be really, truly serious? It turns out this is so, as the two reviews on Metal Archives for this album are so drop dead serious I feel like there’s a punchline or some sarcasm I’m missing in them. From one:
The music this band set out to play combined together with Johansson’s melancholy tinged voice maintains a relationship of perfect symbiosis. An equilibrium of forces equally important in the creation of a music with reconciling beauty of unusual kind. If good music gives wings to my soul then great singing flaps them.
When it comes to Wuthering Heights, this band is so highly original that you can’t imagine any other band even sounding like them let alone copying. Well maybe except for the tired cliché that Nils Patrik Johansson sounds a bit like R. J. Dio. Yes, indeed he does, but that’s all there is and nothing else. His voice has delicate human touch that will keep you warm and safe through the cold winter.
* Best if read in your best James Lipton voice.
** Also, please note that if I ever write a review of anything that sounds even 25% as pretentious as this one, please DDOS this site. Thank you.
Ok, so they’re serious. This is serious business. So if I am to take this seriously, and speak of this band as good music, giving wings to my soul and the vocals flapping them and all that, I’m not sure where to go with this. Some of the guitar is pretty good, and there was minimal flute which I greatly appreciate. The vocals are strong. Umm. I think it is good music when you strip away the theatrics, but on a personal level I prefer my music to be honest and true, not dramatic and fantastical.
All that aside, I am sorry that this poor band got to experience the brunt of my folk metal rant. Listen to this if you are a huge fantasy fan, play a lot of MMORPGs or have a writing style similar to the review I quoted. I’m a huge Dio fan, I honestly don’t find his theatrics over the top at all, not to the degree of this band. Let me be clear, I’m not against silliness. I do think there is room for silliness and fun within metal, I think we need it as deep down we’re all just a little bit nerdy, at least, right? This level of drama and theatrics is a bit too much for me to personally take. Each to their own. Now, to our mighty steeds!!