(Andy Synn has a few words to share about the outstanding new album from Seattle’s Witch Ripper)
I mentioned yesterday that writing about music is a joy unto itself (or, at least, it is if you do it right).
But it’s even more enjoyable when the music you’re writing about it this good.
Because, make no mistake about it, as much as I enjoyed the band’s debut album, the long-awaited follow-up is a whole new level of awesome.
It’s rare to see/hear a band go into their “difficult second album” with such confidence, but a lot of the appeal of The Flight After the Fall is down to the sheer bravado with which these guys have approached their new material.
Everything is bigger, bolder, and more bombastic – the clean vocals are catchier, the harsh vocals are heftier, the hooks are… well, hookier… and the riffs just that little bit cooler, marrying down ‘n’ dirty swagger with soaring melodic power in a way that manages to bring out the best of both worlds.
On top of that the songwriting is notably more epic and ambitious, with the band unashamedly name-checking the likes of Queen, Muse, and Coheed and Cambria as influences this time around, with the result that tracks like scintillating, scene-setting opener “Enter the Loop” and the multifaceted Prog Metal gem that is “Icarus Equation” spend as much time engaged in cinematic sci-fi world-building – all the lyrics and melodies, riffs and rhythms contributing to a greater and more grandiose feel – as they do getting their groove on.
That being said, …After the Fall isn’t just about cerebral showmanship, it’s got balls too… big, pendulous, Heavy Metal ones that give it a swaggering strut and ensure that it still packs one hell of a punch (especially, for example, when “Madness and Ritual Solitude” kicks into high gear) and reminds just why the group were quickly compared to the likes of Mastodon, Baroness, and High On Fire when they first burst onto the scene.
If that sounds like a lot to pack into an album (which clocks in at a pretty much perfectly proportioned forty-seven minutes) then you’d be right, but somehow – and don’t ask me how, as I certainly couldn’t do it – they get the balance of all these different elements and influences and ideas just right, making for a record that’s both a shower and a grower, without an ounce of fat or filler to spare
And speaking of growing… it’s the final track, the nearly seventeen-minute stunner that is “Everlasting in Retrograde” which really shows you how much Witch Tripper have grown, and what an absolutely fantastic band they’ve become in the process, as the whole album essentially builds up to this singularly phenomenal finale, itself a mini-movie soundtrack in two intricately interwoven parts that could, arguably, stand entirely on its own but which here serves as the perfect ending to an album that’s destined to be a highlight of 2023.
Roll credits. Standing ovation. This one’s a winner.
This album is already an AotY candidate for me. The songs are epic and the interplay of the clean and unclean vox are outstanding. “Icarus Equation” has definitely been the song that has hit me in all the feels. Thanks for covering this album that folks should not sleep on.
Agreed on it being an early AotY frontrunner.
“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re still ripping off Kansas even more.” *
*Icarus song title
bonus points toto and kansas refs lol