WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Power Metal • Denmark
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Wuthering Heights is a Danish metal band with a somewhat eclectic musical style, combining the elements of progressive, power and folk metal.

The group was formed in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1989 under the name Angelica by guitarist Eric Ravn (who remains the only original member of the group), this was then changed to Minas Tirith, and then Vergelmir before settling on Wuthering Heights (named after the 1847 novel by Emily Brontë) and releasing their first demo Within in 1997. Ironically this demo didn't lead to the band signing a record contract, they already had one with a German record label, who dropped the band after the demo since they were convinced that the band played gothic/epic metal, as opposed to the progressive power/speed metal direction that the Within demo took on.

After signing with American label The Laser's Edge/Sensory the Within demo was redone as their first album in 1999, but with
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Far From The Madding CrowdFar From The Madding Crowd
THE LASER'S EDGE 2017
$100.90 (used)
The Shadow CabinetThe Shadow Cabinet
THE LASER'S EDGE 2017
$32.94 (used)
Far From the Madding CrowdFar From the Madding Crowd
Toshiba EMI Japan 2003
$22.16 (used)
Wuthering Heights/Wuthering Heights/
Multiple Formats
Imports 2009
$12.99
SaltSalt
THE LASER'S EDGE 2017
$25.00 (used)
WithinWithin
THE LASER'S EDGE 2017
$29.01
$12.98 (used)
Wuthering Heights: The MusicalWuthering Heights: The Musical
Reissued · Remastered
Silva America 2003
$14.30
$8.62 (used)
To Travel for EvermoreTo Travel for Evermore
Sensory Records 2002
$9.99
$6.99 (used)
Wuthering Heights by Wuthering Heights (2013-08-02)Wuthering Heights by Wuthering Heights (2013-08-02)
Imports
$21.75
Salt by Wuthering Heights (2010-04-12)Salt by Wuthering Heights (2010-04-12)
Scarlet Italy
$128.13
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WUTHERING HEIGHTS Discography

WUTHERING HEIGHTS albums / top albums

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Within album cover 3.72 | 9 ratings
Within
Power Metal 1999
WUTHERING HEIGHTS To Travel For Evermore album cover 4.29 | 13 ratings
To Travel For Evermore
Power Metal 2002
WUTHERING HEIGHTS Far From The Madding Crowd album cover 4.33 | 20 ratings
Far From The Madding Crowd
Power Metal 2004
WUTHERING HEIGHTS The Shadow Cabinet album cover 4.14 | 11 ratings
The Shadow Cabinet
Power Metal 2006
WUTHERING HEIGHTS Salt album cover 4.32 | 11 ratings
Salt
Power Metal 2010

WUTHERING HEIGHTS EPs & splits

WUTHERING HEIGHTS live albums

WUTHERING HEIGHTS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Within album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Within
Power Metal 1997

WUTHERING HEIGHTS re-issues & compilations

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Greatest Hits album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
Power Metal 2011

WUTHERING HEIGHTS singles (0)

WUTHERING HEIGHTS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Reviews

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Far From The Madding Crowd

Album · 2004 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
The Danish progressive power metal act Wuthering Heights easily number among my favourite bands. They've a strong discography of five studio albums, but the one that really seals the deal for me is Far From the Madding Crowd (2004), their third full-length effort. It is on this album that they brought in vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson, whose voice, which I think is one of the true great ones from the modern metal and hard rock scene, takes the band's music to the next level. None of this is to belittle their prior efforts or previous vocalist Kristian Andrén, whose two albums with the band I also regard highly, but Far From the Madding Crowd is, for me at least, one of the best power metal albums ever recorded.

The style on Far From the Madding Crowd is basically the same as on the group's first two albums Within (1999) and To Travel for Evermore (2002). Progressive power metal with folk elements. The difference in tone of Nils Patrik Johansson's voice is what clearly sets it apart from it's predecessors though. He is able to shift through so many different styles that it would be easy to think there is actually more than one vocalist on the album. At times he even sounds eerily similar to the late Ronnie James Dio, though at others nothing alike.

Musically Far From the Madding Crowd does seem a little less progressive to my ears and more focussed on power metal than the two previous albums. The band's folk elements appear commonly but as usual aren't a dominating force in their sound, being there for (very effective) flavour. In spite of this it's easy to think of Far From the Madding Crowd as Wuthering Height's most folksy release. Even when the actual folk instrumentation is not there they have a very folksy style to their lyrics. The inclusion of The Bollard, a song originally by obscure Danish folk act The McGalster Clan, further raises the folk feel of the album.

The crowning achievement of the release is certainly the Longing for the Woods trilogy, consisting of tracks 4, 6 & 9. Rather than seeming like an unnecessary repetition, their presence gives Far From the Madding Crowd a kind of unity that many other albums lack. The band's writing is strong across the board though, with The Road Goes Ever On being an excellent track to get listeners hooked once intro Gather Ye Wild is out of the way, which in itself is one of the better intro tracks in existence. The Sensory Records version has a partial reprise of it as a bonus track and I actually highly recommend picking up that version if you can, since it rounds the album off well. I could actually highlight every single song as a highlight on this album, since there isn't a single second where the quality takes a dive.

And that brings me to my summary and to do that we return to something I said at the start of this review: Far From the Madding Crowd is one of the best power metal albums ever recorded. This release is so essential that saying that it is not in bad company with releases such as Somewhere Far Beyond (Blind Guardian), Keeper of the Seven Keys I & II (Helloween), Black Hand Inn (Running Wild) or Land of the Free (Gamma Ray) isn't overstating it's quality. All power metal fans should own this.

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Salt

Album · 2010 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Salt is the fifth full length album from Danish metal band Wuthering Heights. Anyone who knows the group’s music will already know this but this is one of those bands that are impossible to pigeonhole into any one genre of metal music, simply because they are always drifting between power, progressive and folk metal on their albums, sometimes with symphonic elements in there as well. On Salt the symphonic element that has cropped up in the past isn’t so evident, but we’ve still got a mix of three great metal genres in one album here, and this mix makes sure that Wuthering Heights never get stale.

Once again songwriter Eric Ravn has given his listeners an album of the highest possible quality and with it topped off by excellent musicianship and the powerful vocals of Nils Patrick Johansson this isn’t a release that will disappoint the group’s followers and is a highly recommended album for anyone really into progressive, power or folk metal to check out as an introduction to this great band and since that is something that can be said of all their albums, maybe says volumes about the quality of music they produce.

Salt opens with a short track, Away!, this is a song of sorts in its own right but at the same time serves as an introduction to the album. It builds up with some chanting before Nils’s vocals bursts out of your speakers. How can I not note right away just how much like the late and great Ronnie James Dio this man can sound at times (while at others, nothing alike)? Nils in one versatile vocalist, and as you get deeper into this record, you’ll be able to here just what I mean.

After this the band deliveries great song upon great song, first The Desperate Poet gives us a full power metal assault (though it has its softer parts such as the Bridge), and then with the third track, The Mad Sailor, they switch to full on folk metal and produce one of my favourite songs from the album and indeed, their entire catalogue. The chorus in this one is one of those that is just so addictive that I want to keep playing the song time after time again.

What I think makes Salt really great is that these style switches don’t sound out of place. They are what really makes Wuthering Heights what they are and with track after track being as good as the last, there isn’t a lot to complain about on Salt.

But there is something. It’s not a major quibble, but it is here and must be said. One track annoys me, not because it is bad, but because it is a missed chance. Water of Life, which is track eight on the album, and with Away! Aside is the shortest of the songs. Now this is a good song, but there is much potential here for it to be a great song like all the other tracks on the album. This is an acoustic piece and one that as it gets going sounds really good and could easily be one of the highlights, if not the highlight of the whole album. There’s just one problem, just as soon as it starts to get really epic it starts fading out and then it’s over and to me, is the only part of the album that sounds, well for want of a better word – wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Water of Life for what it is, but this is one of the biggest missed chances I’ve ever heard in album. It affected me so much first time listening to the album that it distracted my attention from the epic closing track Lost at Sea, because I kept thinking “what was Eric thinking?”. Lost at Sea, for the record, is the longest song the band have recorded to date and it’s a good closer, going out in an epic progressive fashion.

Despite the one major disappointment I can’t help feeling about Salt, overall it is a highly enjoyable album and easily stands up to its predecessor 2006’s The Shadow Cabinet, even if it doesn’t top the group’s masterpiece 2004’s Far From the Madding Crowd. If that one missed chance wasn’t here then it really would be an album worth a perfect score, however, unfortunately, I can’t justify it in this case as much as I’d like to. However very close effort.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)

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