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Review: Wuthering Heights - Far From the Madding Crowd
Wuthering Heights
Far From the Madding Crowd

Label: Locomotive Music
Year released: 2004
Duration: 61:15
Tracks: 11
Genre: Progressive Power Metal


Review online: June 29, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (23 Votes)

Well, there is some potential here, but despite some impressive instrumental skills and a lot of effort, Wuthering Heights have managed to produce an album that is juuuuust barely worth your time. This is the third disc from these guys, and thank the Gods I have been spared the other two.

Now this is far from a worthless album, there is a lot of cool music on here. Specifically, there are a lot of cool parts that never really gel into a coherent whole. Now this is prog, so it might be said that coherency is not a prime virtue to be striven for, but I disagree. I think that a dedication to elaborate songwriting only incurs a greater onus to produce well-structured songs that hold together. Otherwise you get a whole mess of music, but no songs, as here. Wuthering Heights have a sound that is completely overloaded with keys, solos, bagpipe synths and everything up to and including the kitchen sink. It ends up sounding like a Power Metal pizza festooned with gummi bears and promotional tie-in keychains. The only thing that keeps Wuthering Heights from being a pop/rock band is their extreme musicianship, as most of their melodies are far too poppy to be metal. Okay, some of their vocal lines are pretty good, but then they'll break in with a part that honest-to-Odin sounds like Air Supply or Styx at their sappiest and ruin the mood.

I just can't take an album with a song called "Bad Hobbits Die Hard" seriously. The only thing that stands out to me about this is A: how utterly gay about half of it is, and B: how completely boring all the trills and arpeggios get after about the third song. The end effect is an album that sounds like Sonata Arctica, Styx, Dio and Barney the Purple Dinosaur were combined in some horrible nuclear accident. If you are a prog-whore and don't care about melodies that sound like they were written by Lerner and Lowe, then this is the disc for you my friend. If you like metal songwriting that has produced actual songs, rather than just a bunch of notes on a CD, then you had best look elsewhere.

More about Wuthering Heights...
Review: Salt (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Shadow Cabinet (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: To Travel for Evermore (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Within (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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