This band describe their music as “tortured blackened death metal”, and indeed, this is a great way to describe this eerie, heavy, strange and experimental album. So get ready for a long and tormented trip through the dark.
It’s the kind of album that’s all about creating a specific mood, and it uses many different ideas and sounds to achieve that. Expect deep growls, evil high-pitched shrieks, haunted clean singing, slow plodding riffs and more melodic parts, sometimes all in the same track. The songs have mysterious titles alluding to pain, like The Long Hurt or By Tooth in Tongue.
And it does succeed in creating that particular tortured mood. By Tooth starts with slow, strange riffs that immediately get you on edge, and then crushes you with its dark and hopeless atmosphere, before breaking your heart with its melancholic singing. It’s the track that best represents what this album is all about. The Predation creates a creepy atmosphere, by its sudden cavernous growls and eerie spoken words. The heavier parts, like on Dissolve, are not just average black/death metal tracks, but actually manage to sound dark and monstrous. The more experimental ones, which include slower and eerier riffs like on Casting in Wait, the weird mix of speaking, singing and howling noises on Passing Through… the eerie guitars on the title track and the speaking and singing I’ve already mentioned on other tracks, showcase all the creativity of the band. Withered are very effective at creating their unique and tormented sound, and you’re quickly gripped by it and want to learn more.
If I had to describe this album’s flaws, I’d say that the heavier parts tend to sound too similar, and it’s really not the kind of album where the band should repeat themselves. At least, despite being hard to tell apart, these songs have a distinctive Withered identity to them, but the last song, From Ashen Shores, just sounds like an average death metal song, except for the middle with its melancholic singing. Most of the song is too “normal” for a band like this. Its middle really makes you wish that Withered would do more experimental stuff on this album, because they’re good at it. This is why I can’t really call this a great album, but it’s still somewhat enjoyable. Unlike other albums I’ve described as not great but somewhat enjoyable, I think this one has some real talent and creativity behind it. It sounds really good, and it has a distinctive identity. So check this one out, because it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely something special that will stay with you after you’ve finished it.
Release date: June 25, 2021
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