Austere - Withering Illusions and Desolation
Atmospheric/Black Metal
5 songs (56'35'')
Release year: 2007
Official Myspace, Eisenwald
Reviewed by Jared

Australia’s Austere might be one of the most difficult bands I’ve had to endure in quite some time. Typically when it comes to black metal, I’m usually an easy person to like all sorts of bands from the genre, including many sub-genres, but this album in particular rubbed me in the most absolute wrong of ways. For 2013, Austere has decided to re-release their debut album Withering Illusions and Desolation which I was more than curious to give this atmospheric black metal band a shot. This might be one of the hardest albums I have had to sit through, but I tried my absolute best to pull anything positive out of it.

Grainy and unpolished guitars open up the album with a slow barren riff style that dwells on a hopeless feeling during the song Unending Night. As the slow tempo of the song crept along, it kept this same feeling throughout. However this mediocre sound only became worse once the vocals emerged. The style of vocals on this album was the most difficult to appreciate and to withstand. The overdone and ridiculous sounding scream hurts this album so much in the long run that when I was completely done with the album, I felt it would have been a more of a success if this music would have been done completely instrumental.

The desolate guitar riffs on the second track Memories was a bit easier to like, but the overbearing and ludicrous screaming quickly turned my enjoyment into misery. Again, the album stayed focused on a slow tempo instrumentally, but the albums constant repetitive pattern in just about every song left me becoming bored quickly. At this point the vocals felt so ridiculous that I questioned the thought if they were taking themselves seriously with this sort of absurd vocal sound.

The main title track Withering Illusions and Desolation seemed to take the screaming to more tolerable levels, but later they once again proved to be the most outlandish part of the entire album. Instrumentally, the guitars on this track sound pretty good overall and instill a bit of a strong emotion in them, which is only hidden behind the unreasonable screaming. This might be the better track on the album, but there is also one instrumental piece called Coma which comes at the very end which comes to a whopping length of 18 minutes. There is the complete absence of the vocals, but the song is one of the most dull and tedious to get through. It was really disappointing to see that the instrumental piece had so much potential to be something more on the album than the other tracks and ended up being a complete struggle to get through.

As many times as I put myself through this album, I only found it harder to get through each time. It’s rare when I find metal music that sits well out of my comfort zone, and I wish I could say my feelings were different for this rather unsettling album. I still have a rather a surprising interest to check out Austere's most recent album before their breakup in 2010. It may have been a difficult task to get through the foolish screaming and tiresome instruments, but I may find something more meaningful within their second album.

Killing Songs :
Withering Illusions and Desolation
Jared quoted 50 / 100
Other albums by Austere that we have reviewed:
Austere - To lay Like Old Ashes reviewed by Charles and quoted 71 / 100
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