On their third album Symphony For A Hopeless God (Scarlet) Whyzdom (and for the record, that really is a terrible name) offer to the masses their unique brand of “Philharmonic Metal”. OK, points for that; that’s a new one on me and certainly piqued the interest in terms of how Philharmonic metal differs from symphonic metal. It would appear, not by much… and not for the better.
A clusterfuck of kitchen sink Symphonic Power Metal, it would appear the raison d’etre for Whyzdom is to layer as much orchestration, often seemingly random in what the orchestration is actually attempting to do, as possible to hide the generic and stock metal that exists underneath. For a band with seemingly such a grandiose vision and sound, the actual music is surprisingly meagre in the ideas department, reduced to nary a variant and many a stock staccato chug under the crazy swells chugs and stabs the like of which are often prevalent in Power Metal, hidden under lashings of keyboards.
For all their promises of a massive orchestra, in reality this is covered by the admittedly impressive keyboard skills of Marc Ruhlmann, though between him and mainman Vince Leff (guitars and orchestration) they’ve still to figure out how to write a dynamic line, instead stacking up noise upon noise to near-headache inducing levels. On top of this, we have the tuneless warbling of Marie Rouyer, who while clearly capable of hitting all the notes isn’t encouraged or allowed to shape them into any semblance of melody.
Unlike Epica’s The Quantum Enigma (Nuclear Blast), perhaps Whyzdom’s closest musical cousins, which separates out into a series of powerful, strong songs, repeated listens to Symphony For A Hopeless God reinforces that technical proficiency and a penchant for overkill in orchestration does not an enjoyable or enticing prospect, or good album make. Things are particularly tough going as this is a release that clocks in at over an hour of overbearing heavy-handedness and an insistence of trying to bombard the senses seeming purely for the sake of utilizing the Motorhead remit of “Everything Louder Than Everything Else” all at the expense of actual songwriting.