Withering Soul
Adverse Portrait

After 2011s solid debut of symphonic black metal, No Closure, I just assumed after not hearing literally anything about them for 4 years, these Chicagoans were falling to the same fate of some many metal bands, just one and done. But out of the blue from those fine folks at Clawhammer PR, this album appears. And little has change since the debut, being a symphonic black/death metal band but the band has certainly added some beef and bite to their Dimmu Borgir -ish hues .

After the intro “Vestige”, the increased ballistics s immediately felt on “No Longer Within” and “The Dreadful Echo” where the blackened symphonic wisps are backed by much beefier double bass and blast beats, especially the latter which has a real “whoa” impact. And in fact, everything thing, even the guitars and vocals (other than the remaining Paul Kuhr ish croons here and there) seemed a bit beefed up and burlier.

The following tracks deliver the same blend of blackened death metal with keyboards as the likes of “Awakening”, the snarling “Hours of Obstinancy”  and “Shadow Path” all show an increased level of aggression and less warbly gothic/doomy metal as the bands earlier sound (no female vocals or ballad-y song here  as on No Closure). But ultimately even with solid tracks like “Hex illusion”, the album as a whole doesn’t have those ‘it’ moments to define it or elevate it. As much as I enjoy the album for review purposes, I’m not feeling that need to go back to it, despite it doing everything right.

Withering Soul‘s caffeinated up November’s Doom sound (“In Abscence”) has it’s place and Adverse Portrait certainly is a solid album, but I’m left wanting more from the band as a whole, not just this album. They seem so close to taking it to the next level and standing out in the US scene, so I hope they take that step for the next album, even its it takes another 4 years.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 25th, 2015

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