Words That Form The Key
Label: Metalapolis Records / SPV
Out: February 23rd, 2024
Playing time: 42:20

In the beginning was the word!
In 2020, the world practically stood still. That’s when WHITEABBEY was born.

The German press release for the third “Words That Form The Key” by Whiteabbey from Belfast (Northern Ireland) starts with these words. But wait, singer Tamara Bouwhuis (Dim Crimson) comes from the Netherlands and still lives there. Originally founded as a project between the singer and guitarist Steve Moore, Whiteabbey has now become a regular band. In addition to an EP and a single, this is already their third album. So, the musicians are extremely productive, despite (or because of?) Corona Lockdown. Incidentally, Whiteabbey is the name of a townland and community north of Belfast.

“Reality” starts with breathy words, electric piano and bass line before melodic guitars and powerful drums accompany Tamara Bouwhuis’ soprano vocals. The genre description on the Encyclopaedia Metallum is correct – Symphonic Metal. However, less pompous than some of their genre colleagues. Also “Dragonfire” is very melodic, almost mainstream. Even the riffs can’t change that. One of the band’s trademarks are sing-along choruses. “Hold Fast” sounds a little harder. Despite the keyboard samples. Guitarist Steve Moore in particular impresses with his filigree guitar playing. On the other hand, “Just Hold Me” is much more melodic, but also calmer. A partly contemplative power ballad. Tamara often leaves the high notes, which makes the vocals varied. “You Should Be Running” is again characterised by powerful guitars and driving drumming. But also, again by orchestral samples. Another ballad follows with “All In The Past”. This time the instrumentation is minimalistic, with plucked guitar and bass chords accompanying the beguiling vocals. “Ireland’s Final Witch” unleashes all the Melodic Metal power again. In addition to the riffs and orchestral accompaniment, keyboard melodies also characterise the style here. The title “Celtic Curse” suggests that Celtic influences can be heard here. But this is not the case, unfortunately, one might almost say. The previous sound schemes are also retained here. Another ballad at the end. The instrumentation on “Think Of Me Sometimes” is also restrained. The song lives mainly from Tamara’s voice.

“Words That Form The Key” is by no means a bad album. However, I do miss the variety a little. And real highlights. Nice melodies, good vocals and a few riffs and guitar solos or orchestral samples are simply not enough for a very good rating. The band had the potential. On a positive note, Whiteabbey do not use excessive bombast. But there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially in terms of arrangements.

Tamara Bouwhuis – Vocals
Steve Moore – Guitar
Graham McNulty – Bass
Badger Duncan – Drums


Phil Horner
David Brown
Clementine Abigail Brown
Junior Afrifa

Track list:

  • Reality
  • Dragonfire
  • Hold Fast
  • Just Hold Me
  • You Should Be Running
  • All In The Past
  • Ireland’s Final Witch
  • Celtic Curse
  • Think Of Me Sometimes
  • Album - 7/10
  • Cover-Art - 8/10
  • Songwriting - 8/10


Disturbingly Good


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