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Whiteabbey - Chapter Four Award winner

Whiteabbey
Chapter Four
by Kevin Lewis at 11 April 2021, 5:53 PM

WHITEABBEY is a band from The North, apparently referring to a combination of Northern Ireland and the Netherlands (with a Game Of Thrones reference thrown in for good measure). It has elements of Goth, Symphonic and Power Metal flowing through it, making it a big sound. It is unclear when they started or if they are ever going to really be an active band. They have previously released three other records, all also with three songs each and called "Chapter I," "Chapter II," and "Chapter III" respectively. "Chapter IV" was released independently on February, 13, 2021 in digital format only.

With only three songs on the record, there is not a lot of music to really get a good feel of the band. You can, however, really get into the three songs. They are catchy and full of sonic goodness. All the songs have a nice rhythms and killer guitar riffs. They are well balanced and recorded and mesh well with each other. If I had to give any kind of comparison, I would say WHITEABBEY definitely channels a bit of AVANTASIA, which is a really good band to draw influence from.

The lead track is “Swan,” a nicely paced song that starts with a delicate intro before kicking in and really rocking. The verses have a nice chugging riff that really drive the song. The lead vocals are well done and the backing vocals, especially during the chants, really add depth to the sound. The drumming does not just follow a set pattern throughout the song, using some cool varied beats and fills to offset the rhythm. The bass guitar is rock solid under the guitars, holding everything together well.

Lyrically, “Swan” seems to be about a person who got into a toxic type of relationship, but will fly again. The first verse hints at the swan having had their wings broken, but this is not the end. This relationship is over and the swam is moving on and not looking back. With a proud determination and drive, “Swan” will fly again.

Next, we have “Shadows," a song with a crushing riff that fires the song off the starting line. The rhythm is fast and heavy. The verses are a little more tempered, but that only highlights the killer pace through the chorus. Here, it seems shadows are somewhat like secrets and other things people try to keep stored away in the past, distant memories they hope no one will find. Unfortunately for most people, those secrets will eventually come to light.

Wrapping the record up is “Wicked," a song about people who just cannot seem to get it right. They lack empathy and the desire to be an equal member of a group. With lines like “You wasted every chance you were given/More than you deserved”, it is fairly obvious this is a person who just refuses to play by societal norms. We all know who this is in our own lives. The rhythm gallops along and really provide a sound to illustrates the frustration of whoever it is you are thinking of right now.

These are three well-written songs that showcase a lot of talent. The recording, mixing and engineering are also well done. This does feel like a chapter of life where you identify someone in your life that needs to be excised, removed for holding you back and not letting you reach your full potential. Whether that is a significant other, a parent or a boss/coworker, we have all dealt with this person at some point in life. The message in this record is that you can move on and be who you are meant to be.

I think my biggest hope is that WHITEABBEY doesn’t just fade away into nothingness. With only three songs, this is a quick listen. This is an interesting chapter and could have been a little longer, but is also consistent with their previous works. Selfishly, when I find something that I like, I want more of it. The good thing is, with four chapters written, The book is well underway and will hopefully be finished in the long run.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Swan
2. Shadows
3. Wicked
Lineup:
Tamara Bouwhuis – Vocals
Stevie McLaughlin Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Steve Moore – Lead Guitar (Bass and Keyboards on the record as well)
Record Label: Independent
     


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