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Following up on 2013's highly acclaimed debut album, The Inheritance, Witherscape return in July 2016 with another mesmerisingly dense conceptual album entitled The Northern Sanctuary. Witherscape features singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath, Nightingale) on vocals/keyboards/drums pairing up with fellow Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ragnar Widerberg on guitars/bass. Musically, The Northern Sanctuary manages to seamlessly blend the best elements of 70's & 80's prog/hard rock with atmospheric yet subtle extreme metal. The versatile vocal gymnastics alternate between hauntingly quiet tones to utterly ferocious growls, further extending the stylistic whirlwind that the limitless nature of the songs produce.
On lyrics, as well as the overall theme, we see that once again, Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom) contributes lyrically to the new album. Swanö explains: "The theme picks up where we left off with the "The New Tomorrow" EP. There is a 50 year jump in the timeline from the 1st album and the main character "Mannen i vitt" (The Man in White) has purchased the house where all the horror initially happened. He's restored it and rents out rooms to people from the big cities, who are aiming for some peaceful northern Swedish silence. But the entity still haunts the house and "Mannen i vitt" is possessed by it, so consequently he/it does terrible things to the "patients". Since the house is built on one of the gates to hell, there's a ritual taking place, opening the hellish dimension from where the evil entity once came, so it can go back there..."
Artistically, The Northern Sanctuary is enhanced by breathtakingly powerful artwork, courtesy of Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák (Nightingale, Destruction, Tyr). With their sophomore album Witherscape has raised the bar in terms of production and continued on their quest for fearless, no-boundaries songwriting.