Andy Derksen, a Queensland young musician, after having identified as his polar star the work of Daniel Neagoe, both as Clouds and Eye Of Solitude, in less than two years has put on the net under the moniker When Hearts Wither six singles, an ep and two full lengths, showing at all times to have learned the lessons of his model, even ending up tracing the peculiar characteristics such as growl and clean voice. A beautiful ep as Sacrifice Of Innocence already said a lot about Derksen’s skills, widely confirmed with the first full length Caliginous, but not yet fully focused as it happened instead with a truly remarkable album as Empty Vase, released in the summer of 2020. More inclined towards Clouds than Eye Of Solitude, thanks to a more melancholic than dramatic approach, the work in the long run doesn’t disfigure at all close to the masterpieces recorded by Neagoe even if, of necessity, the element that is less evident is the originality, a sin that must be forgiven to Andy just for his still relative experience that doesn’t allow him to exhibit in a stable way a proper stylistic figure. Having said that, tracks like the title track and especially the wonderful Reminiscence are so emotionally intense to forgive any sin to this talented guy who has in his ropes a strong sense for painful and moving melodies, to which he just has to try to give a more personal look to deserve to be mentioned on a par with those who so far have been his sources of inspiration. If the cover designed by Gogo Melone of Aeonian Sorrow closes the circle in terms of quotations and points of reference, it’s presumable that the path just taken by Andy Derksen with his When Hearts Wither can take him very far indeed.

2020 – Independent