WHITEABBEY – The Words That Form The Key (2024)

WHITEABBEY - The Words That Form The Key (2024) - full

In early 2020, the world practically stopped. Necessity being the mother of invention, musicians were forced to find new avenues of creativity and collaboration. And so WHITEABBEY was born, originally intended as a studio side-project between Steve Moore of Northern Ireland’s STORMZONE and Tamara Bouwhuis of Netherlands’s DIM CRIMSON.
The first batch of songs were released in groups of three, each one representing a chapter in the WHITEABBEY story. These chapters were then themselves grouped into threes, with each one of those representing a volume, which was then self-released as an album. Two albums were recorded and released this way.
Realizing the potential of the band and the material, Steve and Tamara decided to make WHITEABBEY their main focus, eschewing all other distractions. Graham McNulty on bass and Badger Duncan on drums were recruited to complete the line-up that will be taking the new music to the live arena in 2024 – their upcoming album entitled “The Words That Form The Key“.

Drawing on influences ranging from symphonic metal like NIGHTWISH or WITHIN TEMPTATION through to more traditional rock and metal sources like HELLOWEEN THIN LIZZY or JUDAS PRIEST, the band have crafted a musical world with massive riffs, catchy hooks, intoxicating vocals and blistering guitar solos in which the listener can be immersed.
This is achieved through some raging guitar leads, especially in ‘Dragonfire’ and ‘Just Hold Me’. In fact, I had to verify that the band only has one guitarist as some can sound very thin when the lead guitarist takes on a solo. Though the backline of the band is able to maintain that depth and the use of synths also helps to fill in that void.

This changes in ‘Hold Fast’ however, where the enthralling synth track is the melodic focal point for the song. A wonderful focal point at that! There’s good old fashioned high octane galloping rhythms throughout, again what you’d expect from a Power Metal style album. I found myself tapping my foot along like a power drill to try and match the tempo at one point! I also found myself smiling on occasion as it genuinely was so fun to listen to.

Whiteabbey can be varied compositionally though. Songs such as ‘All In The Past’ and ‘Think Of Me Sometimes’ are very much stripped down and more gentle songs, where it’s either just Tamara and the clean guitars or synths. In fact this would be a good time to turn my attention to the band’s vocalist, Tamara.
She has a wonderful calm and soothing voice throughout. It’s so aesthetic. I just worry that she get’s drowned out sometimes by the relative chaos and volume of the music. In particular during ‘Celtic Curse’. I’m unsure if this is a production issue, or more technical. One is relatively simple to fix, another is much more complex.

However, check out ‘Think Of Me Sometimes’. As I mentioned earlier, this a much more calm and stripped back song, one where the blazing guitar solos and pulsating rhythm section take a break. Here, Tamara truly gets the opportunity to shine and demonstrate her undeniable vocal talent. This is easily her strongest performance, which also makes me think that there is a simple production issue that can be easily fixed in the next release. Whether there needs to be more vocal layers or simply to turn the volume up, it’ll be remedied.

I had alluded to the album having an old school/classic Symphonic Metal vibe. A double edged sword really. Fans of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Leaves Eyes will know exactly what they’re getting here. But that’s also the issue. The issue because what’s separating the band from all these others in what is a very stacked field?
Though this shouldn’t deter you from checking out Whiteabbey or “The Words That Form The Key” as I’m sure you’ll have a positive listening experience.
Highly Recommended


01 – Reality
02 – Dragonfire
03 – Hold Fast
04 – Just Hold Me
05 – You Should Be Running
06 – All in the Past
07 – Ireland’s Final Witch
08 – Celtic Curse
09 – Think of Me Sometimes

Tamara Bouwhuis – vocals
Steve Moore – guitars
Graham McNulty – bass
Badger Duncan – drums


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