Following up on the refreshing impact of 2013’s much acclaimed debut album “The Inheritance” (“Album of the month” by Germany’s Rock Hard magazine and position # 97 in the official German sales charts) and 2014’s complimentary “The New Tomorrow” EP, “The Northern Sanctuary” is yet another mesmerizingly dense conceptual album, enhanced by breathtakingly powerful artwork courtesy of Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák. Once more lyrically supported by Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom), WITHERSCAPE continue the storyline launched with the debut album, as Swanö explains:
“The theme picks up where we left off with the ”The New Tomorrow” EP. There is a 50 year jump in the time line 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…”
Musically, “The Northern Sanctuary” manages to seamlessly blend the best elements of the band’s 70’s/80’s Prog/Hardrock and even AOR roots with contemporary, yet always atmospheric and subtle extreme Metal. Its infectious catchiness will doubtlessly appeal to the passionate followers of Swanö’s diverse artistic catalogue, but also to fans of bands like Opeth, Amorphis or Symphony X.