WITHERING SURFACE - SCARLET SILHOUETTES - EUPHONIOUS
It seems that the job of refuting the claims of biographies, debunking false perceptions and putting matters in perspective is becoming a full time, year- round job at Metallian Towers. Three subjects have been assigned a corner of the Imperial Library just to research the matter on a full-time basis. Anyone who has been following this writer's classics may have noted the many instances of such occurrences. The reason may be the heightened confidence of publicists that we will gulp whatever they write unquestioningly or a lessening of critical reading and knowledge on behalf of the metal press and radio in tandem with the dumbing down of society. The fact remains that taking the information provided in biographies at face value is hazardous to the truth and not exactly conducive to an absorption of facts. The intention here by no means is to pick on Withering Surface or Euphonious Records, but one look at the bio and a few things have to be placed into perspective. Firstly, the bio forgets to mention that half the band were as recently as last year treading under the Craw Cell monicker where, among others, they appeared on the Utopian Vision compilation CD. Worse is mentioning the band's demo Unique as being accorded the title of The Best Metal Demo Tape of 1995 by Danish national radio's metal program. I would love to be corrected, but last I checked the aforementioned metal show was hosted by B. Ahlstrand who happens to be the business partner of vocalist Andersen. Additionally, Ahlstrand lends some vocals to this album. I like space here to reiterate that this is by no means picking on either of these guys - last I personally checked one of them was a great guy and a big contributor to the metal scene, but I believe we all need to retrieve our perspective from Babylon 5 and integrate more integrity into our words and actions. Enough of that. Scarlet... features the sexiest Danish cover chick since Pretty Maids' Red Hot And Heavy album (OK, there was Konkhra’s Spit album). On the musical front the five-piece follows the path of its inspirations In Flames and Cradle of Filth. Unfortunately for me, and other metal fans, there is the trendy presence of keyboards in this which takes away from the band's credibility. Worse, there is a female vocalist too - yes, yet another one of those. This is getting really stale. The band has talent and lots of writing capability as a song like the title track clearly demonstrates with its good and clean riffs, rhythm and successful sound. So a hit and miss affair for now and once again I have to refer you to your personal tastes for a final verdict. - Ali "The Metallian"
WITHERING SURFACE - THE NUDE BALLET - EUPHONIOUS
Ladies and gentlemen, here we go again. Here comes another band with a female guest vocalist. Do people realize what a bad image this gives humans in the animal kingdom? Humans have usurped sheep as the ultimate herd mentality creature. Scene after metal scene is degenerating. One could have forgiven Withering Surface's wimpy album name, for its Dark Tranquillity/In Flames-tinged compositions show some promise. One could have also ignored how the sound is too treble because the vocalist can inject good venom via his larynx. Nevertheless this whole K&F (keyboard and female vocals) schtick has gone way too far. When will this lame trend end? - Ali "The Metallian"
WITHERING SURFACE - FORCE THE PACE - SCARLET
The new album of the Danish speed/thrash metallers Withering Surface has turned out well. Living and playing around the fringes of Gothenburg, influences from In Flames and Dark Tranquility are never far, but Force The Pace is true to its words and puts the originators through their, well, paces. The music is fast and skilled, the solos impressive, the rhythm tight, the vocals as grating as anybody else's out there and the sound both punchy and clear.
In general, Force The Pace does a good job of mixing melodic rhythms with brutal metal violence. The vocals get in on the act though infusing the odd growl into the harsh screaming. The band's influences being what they are, electronic elements are always sadly bubbling under the surface, but the bulk of the album is metal. The listener gets treated to some Arch Enemy-esque soloing and techno-death too.
If one can ignore the explicit influences, the odd synthesizer and clean backing chants then there is quite a lot to discover and like on Withering Surface's fourth full-length. - Ali "The Metallian"