Blind? is the second full-length album to be released by French symphonic metal act Whyzdom. Due to a number of delays mostly revolving around lead vocalist changes Blind? was delayed for a bit until the band finally were able to finish recording it with new vocalist Elvyne Lorient, who replaces Clémentine Delauney, the vocalist previously slated to appear on the album, who in turn had replaced Telya Melane, the vocalist from the band’s debut album From the Brink of Infinity (2009).
Despite the line-up changes Whyzdom’s take on symphonic metal remains very much unchanged. When a debut sets as good a first impression as From the Brink of Infinity did, then producing more of the same is most definitely okay in my book. If you’ve missed out on the debut though then what you get with Whyzdom is a lot more than a typical approach to the symphonic metal genre, as Whyzdom are a lot more creative with their music than most, to the point that they are also describable as a progressive metal act. I can’t help but feel that Blind? may be slightly less creative overall than its predecessor because to be honest some of the ideas I hear being used hear draw just a few too many parallels to those found on the debut, but Whyzdom are still a cut above the majority of acts playing symphonic metal when it comes to creativity (at least outside of the symphonic element itself). The band also draws heavily on power metal, but without the album turning into a symphonic power metal release. You’ll also hear rarer use of folk elements which add a bit of additional flavour to a couple of tracks.
New lead vocalist Elvyne Lorient is most definitely an improvement for the band’s sound though, as her voice has mare strength than that of Telya Melane, whose performance I enjoyed on the debut but she came across as somewhat fragile sounding during some parts of the album, which admittedly had its charm but Elvyne’s potential to take the group even further is evident right from the off. Another improvement vocally is that guitarist/orchestrator Vynce Leff has all but dropped his own vocal contributions that appeared on the debut. The exceptions are the tracks Cassandra's Mirror and The Foreseer, where his near whispered style of growling shows up in a backing role, which does make them more tolerable but they are so pushed back within the mix that I’m wondering if they’d even be missed if removed. The rest of the album certainly proves they’re not required and that Elvyne can carry her own.
Blind? is a mix of complex progressive tracks that live up to Whyzdom’s branding themselves as a Philharmonic Metal band such as Venom And Frustration, and some more simple songs that focus on lyrical hooks like The Lighthouse, although the songs do come over in general as being a bit more catchy than those found on From the Brink of Infinity. It’s pretty clear to me that Blind? will have a wider appeal than its predecessor but throughout the album I can’t shake the feeling that the band sacrificed a little bit of that spark that made the debut something truly special. While they’ve most definitely made marked improvements in some areas of their sound, I think if Whyzdom can find a way to weld the best parts of both their full-lengths to date they’ll have made an album which holds equal appeal to those who favoured From the Brink of Infinity’s more progressive take and those who prefer Blind?’s accessibility. Personally I find the former produced a stronger album for the band so at the end of the day I have to consider Blind? to be a slight step down for Whyzdom, but all the same this is still pretty exceptional work from the symphonic metal genre.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))