Witherfall have unintentionally evolved to be a living illustration of turning pain into fine art. As I discussed with vocalist Joseph Michael, there’s been a casualty that soon follows after each record. The group internalized their bleak parameters and turned it into musical bliss, which we heard them honor their late drummer Adam Sagan with 2018’s A Prelude to Sorrow. With album number three, Curse of Autumn (out now via Century Media), does it maintain their growing stride, or is this where we see a dissipation? The answer is: they’ve excelled.
Curse of Autumn has a considerable amount to digest in terms of experiments and styles. It doesn’t run flat or dry like a cheap bottle of Shiraz. Their music pours with a variety of flavors, such as a delicious blend of Pinot Noir. There’s a natural richness in the album, which moves with collected emotions, as you hear in songs “As I Lie Awake” and “The Other Side of Fear.” As Jake Dreyer and Joseph Michael are the driving force of the group, you hear their collaboration as the guitarwork will leave a lasting impression throughout the record, especially for the massive opus, “…And They All Blew Away.” “Another Face” and “Tempest” are two stunning tracks taking Witherfall on another level as they are on the road to excellence. Their albums move as three separate chapters, never leave room for weakness, and Curse of Autumn highlights their overall strength.
When it comes to an album, I usually pay attention to the music as a whole, the lyrics, and guitar work. However, the range and flexibility in Joseph Michael’s vocals on this record have compelled me to say he is by far becoming one of the strongest singers in modern time. There’s nothing he can’t do as a vocalist. You hear his softer, somber side in the beautiful, heartbreaking track “The River.” The song is about his deceased father, and anyone who lost a parent or, like me, who also lost my father will instantly connect to this track.
As the lyrics in “…And They All Blew Away” point out with “ride the storm,” that is exactly what Curse of Autumn is about. You are riding the storm of their inner struggles being transpired to a well-crafted record. Bravo.