Monday, February 28, 2011

Withering Soul - No Closure

Withering Soul
No Closure
Mortal Music/MVD Entertainment Group

For a band that’s been around for the better part of a decade, Withering Soul aren’t what you would call a prolific act, with barely a couple of demos, one full-length release (2004’s ‘Apparitions Of The Surreal’, which was released through Xohol Records) and a cover of Running Wild’s ‘Firebreather’ for 2009’s Running Wild tribute album ‘ReUnation’ released from the band within that time. But after a lengthy period of inactivity, the Chicago (Illinois, U.S.) based outfit have finally signed up with Mortal Music, with the first release from the pair being the long overdue release of the band’s sophomore effort ‘No Closure’.
With seven years between releases, it’s hard to imagine exactly what to expect from Withering Soul’s latest release compared their debut effort. But after giving the album several listens, it’s clear that the four piece act (Comprising of vocalist Mykil, guitarist/keyboardist Krystofer, bassist William Smith and drummer Marek) certainly haven’t remained stationary in terms of sound and direction. Instead, Withering Soul have progressed in leaps and bounds on ‘No Closure’, with a melodic black metal sound that could easily be mistaken as something that could have emerged from the European side of the world metal scene.
Withering Soul gently introduce the album with the atmospheric and haunting keyboard led instrumental piece ‘Night Of The Revenant’, which unlike a lot of synthesizer based introductory tracks, actually succeeds at perfectly setting the tone of the album.
With the opening song gently fading out, the band quickly gets down to business with ‘Phantasmal Chaos Divinity’, which boasts plenty of impressive black metal riffing alongside some suitably heavy keyboard work. On the vocal front, Mykil conjures up some demonic sounding growls, but also manages to keep the song varied with clean vocals as well. Overall, the song can be compared to Cradle Of Filth in places, but perhaps with a little more thought in ensuring that the song retains a sense of flow, variation and dynamics, which is sometimes lost on the long running U.K. act.
‘The Sequitor’ is another strong track that follows along the same lines as the former, with the exception of some additional lead work, while ‘Tides Of The Accursed’ (Which was originally aired at the first single from the album a couple of years ago), ‘Possession Of Deception - Part II’ (A sequel to the closer on the band’s debut) and ‘Sadistic Redress’ take on a bit more of an extreme approach, with Marek’s relentless work behind the kit and Krystofer’s keyboard work really standing out.
Both ‘Lifeless They Lie’ and ‘Manifest Transparency’ (The first promotional video clip from the album) showcase a bit more of a melodic edge within the group’s sound, with the focus on groovier sounding riffing and clean vocal passages guiding the song for the most part, while on ‘Unquiet’, ex-Aesma Daeva/Visions Of Atlantis/Echoterra vocalist Melissa Ferlaak adds a symphonic touch to the band’s melodic black metal sound, which makes the song stand out as is something completely different from the rest of the album.
Finishing things up is the instrumental ‘Requiem Of Sorrow’, which closes the album on a more reflective note.
It’s taken Withering Soul some time to release ‘No Closure’, but it’s been worth the wait. Not everything on the album works quite as well as I had hoped (The clean vocals are a little shaky in places, and ‘Unquiet’ does seem a little out of place on the album stylistically), but in the end, there’s definitely more that works, than not. Overall, ‘No Closure’ is a great album, and one that will surely appeal to those who appreciate quality melodic death metal.

For more information on Withering Soul, check out - http://www.witheringsoul.com/

© Justin Donnelly