Whyzdom – Symphony for a Hopeless God (Scarlet Records)Thursday, 19th February 2015
One of those bands who fill up many of the numerous back-fill spots in symphonic metal, France’s Whyzdom have reached their third album by way of Symphony for a Hopeless God. Like their 2012 album Blind? (the question mark was intentional), Symphony…hits upon the regular spate of stuffy, bravado-laden, over-produced songs, a lot of which contain such a surplus of heroic keyboards and layered operatic vocals, that you feel you’re stuck underneath the bowels of the stage for eternity…or something close.
Vocalist Marie Rouyer is a mezzo-soprano, which is cool, and admirable. So in typical fashion for symphonic metal bands, they try to plug her into songs that are a bit of cross between Nightwish and Tristania, and Xandria if we want to go there as well. When the band plays it more conventional, like on the verse portion of “Eve’s Last Daughter,” there’s more than enough to chew on, especially when a nifty little staccato-keyboard number gets moving. But, when Rouyer gets all huffy with her vocals (see: “Tears of a Hopeless God,” “Let’s Play With Fire” and “Waking up the Titans”), she’s wildly pitchy and ear-piercing. Granted, this is all for effect, but you never saw Tarja Turunen attempting such unnecessary vocal acrobatics.
At over an hour’s worth of material, Symphony for a Hopeless God personifies the pretentious and over-ambitious plot of European symphonic metal. The whole “more is more” idea generally doesn’t work in such instances, something the style’s main (and best) bands realized a long time ago. Funnily enough, Whyzdom would be far more effective by eliminating Rouyer’s headstrong opera leanings in lieu of the pop-oriented, straightforward approach that has made Nightwish unbeatable, and a slew of others worthy. For Whyzdom, it’s going to be an ongoing struggle to get out of this box. Not happening with Symphony for a Hopeless God, obviously.