Withered - Dualitas
Prosthetic Records
Atmospheric Black/Sludge
8 songs (42:40)
Release year: 2010
Withered, Prosthetic Records
Reviewed by Goat

Presenting their third full-length in eight years here, US two-faced mob Withered have advanced their brand of murky aural violence even further from 2008’s already impressive Folie Circulaire. They are a consistent band, channelling the same furrows here as on Folie Circulaire yet with less progressive meandering and more upfront heaviness, less melody and more misery. It’s a more hardline statement of the band’s belief system, without a doubt, and one that may raise eyebrows from those more progressive-minded fans who wanted further steps to be taken in that direction, yet they shouldn’t be disappointed from what’s on offer here, despite the clearly less headbangable, less catchy, and less enjoyable turn that Dualitas takes.

Those unaware of the band will get a pretty good idea of what they’re about from what the art and title suggest, and the two genres brought together here are performed expertly. Opening track Extinguished With The Weary alone is worth the price, driving and hateful black metal turning to plains atmospheric as the sludge takes over and punishes your ears with slow-paced riffing – the raw production suiting both sides of Withered’s sound. There are moments of melody in there, such as the ominous beginning of Residue In The Void, which drones out mournfully before building speed, trudging through atmospheric mire with barely a glimpse of a hopeful future. You have to admire the jangling bass, a background rusty chain waiting for human weight to fall upon it, working perfectly with the echoing vocals that add to the overall feeling of dread that the track imparts. Emotionally, this is as intense and effective as the crashing and roaring elsewhere, such as the following Seek The Shrouded which adds flavour to the mix with dementedly hypnotic blasting.

It’s impressive just what a mixture of doom influences are brought to bear here, from the more swinging riffage of The Progenitor’s Grasp to the drone of Interlude, which also bears a remarkable Burzumic heritage in its gloomy ambience. Those who enjoy miserable music are sure to get a perverse thrill from every bit of this album, the buzzing hopelessness that begins From Shadows not brightened one bit by the ensuing prog-tinged black metal. Hopeless and full of despair though it may be, there’s a weary air of anticipation to Aethereal Breath, distant chords reverberating behind militaristic drumming before gradually allowing further melodies to develop between cascading violent riffage. Withered keep a tight control over their music, never allowing it to do anything except spread their black-lipped message – not writing songs so much as tracts, passages of darkness that speak to something prehistoric and animalistic in listeners.

Although I’ll freely admit to enjoying their previous album more, Dualitas is still an excellent piece of work. Certainly, it’s enough to remind me that I really should listen to the suggestions of our forumites more often, and sooner! Recommended for miserable bastards of all shapes and sizes, although those less interested in the bleakest of emotions would do better to start with Folie Circulaire.

Killing Songs :
Extinguished With The Weary, Residue In The Void, Seek The Shrouded,The Progenitors Grasp, Aethereal Breath
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Withered that we have reviewed:
Withered - Folie Circulaire reviewed by Adam and quoted 78 / 100
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