Withered
Dualitas

Listen, I have no excuses as to why I didn’t get around to listening to and reviewing this album on a more timely basis. It’s even more baffling when you consider that I thoroughly enjoyed Withered‘s previous efforts, 2005’s Memento Mori and 2008’s critically acclaimed Folie Circulaire (which made my 2008 year end list). I guess Dualitas simply got buried in the late year rush of releases amid the thousands of other digital promos I receive.

Continuing Folie Circulaire’s descent into blacker realms, Withered seem to have fully abandoned any remnants of geographic Mastodon-hues and Stockholm death metal in favor of a sicker, hacking sound that puts the band in the same ball park as Krallice, Black Anvil, Lightning Swords of Death, Castevet, Woe and such. Though still armed with a fuller, sludgier guitar tone, the overall approach of the songs is fully steeped in a more Dissection-y structures that balance melodic tremolo, but earthy picked riffs and subtle hazes of sludge. Not trendy, post-rock, shoegaze waffling, but a darker more menacing sense of foreboding ambiance. The scathing but murky result is yet another excellent offering from an American band who should no longer be overlooked in USBM.

Opener “Extinguished with the Weary” opens a window to the soul of Dualitas. A gruff, rumbling opening, fronted by Mike Thompson’s gravelly voice, then a feral transition into urgent blackened blast with Dylan Kilgore’s fierce shriek. “Residue in the Void” has a languid start before a very cool little canter and yet very impressive blackened explosion, displaying how comfortable, confident and competent Withered have become in their new wolf’s clothing. And that confident black sneer assails the senses without mercy to start “Seek the Shrouded”, which along with the blistering “The Progenitor’s Grasp” make for the album’s most direct and lethal duo.

After the rather needless mid-album “Interlude”, the album seems to somehow improve in depth and scope; with the aforementioned “The Progenitor’s Grasp” and “From Shadows” which starts with a brief return to a sort of Stockholm romp and groove which brought a smile to my face. Then penultimately, the band deliver the albums most ambient and varied track, the 8-minute closure (excluding the ambient outro) “Aetherial Breath”, a crushing musing of all Withered‘s element rolled into one tumbling, rumbling, bristling, seething epic that signals that the band is certified “elite act” — and are at the point where they can do it almost effortlessly.

Dualitas is so good it pains me that I didn’t get to it sooner, so I could have included it in my 2010 year end list. I knew it would probably end up as one of 2010’s best releases, but I wanted to fully absorb it before saying so and as it stands…I’ll just have to buy Mike Thompson another beer next time he’s in Missouri.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
January 27th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    wish I enjoyed this as much as you, found it a complete slog to get through. disappointing considering how much of a grower Folie Circulaire was.


  2. Commented by: LoftComplication

    gabaghoul, I agree completely. Nothing about this was memorable for me seemed like it was shorter than what it was, i wasnt a huge fan of Folie Circulaire eitehr but this was just boring.


  3. Commented by: Mark

    i agree with gabaghoul also.i was actually waiting for the album to end.


  4. Commented by: Andy Synn

    I thoroughly enjoyed this album.

    Can’t say yet how well it stacks up against the previous two, but it MAY well be my favourite. MAY.


  5. Commented by: valis

    You are all foolish, this album kills….


  6. Commented by: Staylow

    I’ve tried numerous times to get into this band but they never click with me for whatever reason.


  7. Commented by: GDubya

    Dualitas is very good and is comparable to Folie.
    This band has very good mix of styles all their own.
    Very satisfying and rocks.


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