07/06/2004

  1. Gears 
2. Exit Sculpture
3. This View
4. Force The Pace
5. Hold The Line
6. Machinery
7. Inhale The Hyperpulse
8. State Of Emergency
9. Anything Goes
10. Urban Glasses
Michael H. Andersen - Vocals
Allan Tvedebrink - Guitars
Jacob Krogholt - Guitars
K.B. Larsen - Bass
Nikolaj Borg - Drums

WITHERING SURFACE : "Force the Pace"         withering surface     

produced by Tue Madsen (Mnemic, The Haunted, a. o.) 


preview - review  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____   


Force the Pace is a thunder hyper heavy mixture of melodic Death and Modern tendencies that hits you straight into your face. Force the Pace has practically 2 souls: one more inclined to In Flames, from Colony  to R2R and STYE, (and to Scandinavian vibes in general) , and one more experimental where little  connections with Thrash and even Black are attempted.  Force the Pace is a massive bone crunching experience ennobled by very good and catchy melodic paths. Force the pace is not flawless but  ...IT IS LIKE  THROWING  INTO A WHIRLPOOL OF GEAR(S)


Yes, more or less Withering Surface mainly play like In Flames but  delivering  also a more general, very aggressive and hammering summary of  the most modern Scandinavian trends.  This is to say there are tracks where the influence from In Flames is well defined and others that  move away  exploring new horizons with  personal introspection. I tell at once the opener song  of this bright new Force the Pace, the track called  Gears, is so asskicking and addictive that i couldn't care less whether   it is executed by In Flames or whoever else,  and i think you will have the same reaction... I consume music like a rabid feline , i take care of quality and effectiveness, and i let the fine disquisitions to the supreme poser judge on duty. Let's never forget that we are consumers and not musicians, and if we are any, we consume music as well. So,  this album would be   worth even if the 10 songs would be Gears only, repeated 10 times, but, of course, it's not that way, and the very good tracks are many. Consequently  come to your conclusion while i enjoy like a mad songs like Gears, Exit Sculpture, This View, Force the Pace and Anything goes

Gears is as resolute and  modern oriented like the latest In Flames of R2R and Soundtrack to your Escape,  but with the appeal and the sonorities of  Colony from the homonymous album.  If Withering Surface develop their music mainly on the wake of In Flames , it's absolutely  no cut and paste: on the contrary they put much of their personal interpretation and style beginning from the real bass'n drums attacks and connections with Thrash and Black.  

For one time indeed, i'd would avoid discussions about the genre: which genre play Withering Surface?  I would say we deal here with a Melodic Death  of full Scandinavian school  (In Flames and  subtly Dark Tranquillity too) that meets Modern metal influences with  vibes that sconfinano even to Black in some playing- technique and vocal tone in the second part of the album . I think that it is   important  to underline  the major drumming which can be square, crackling and thunderous, the (few) good keys digital   effects  which are launched with mighty  determination and technical resolution, the relentless excursions of Death-attacks,  the granitic rhythmic wall, and the melodic themes most of them are really excellent. Vocals are mainly  similar to those of Anders Friden, but here the vocal contribution appears even more evil and diversified, from screamings to roaring,  belching short low impressive growls. You can see that the album is practically ideally divided in 2 souls: the first one is the more Swedish Death Metal oriented, In Flames-esque, mighty,  merciless, which plays very safe in the best way we can mean it. The second one, always on the same Death/Modern  base,  tries some experimentations, tries variations, tries new inputs: not always the result  is the best one, but at least the rush  towards originality is done and a couple of songs, concerning this second part,  are definitely very interesting.

 

After the wonderful  Gears, Exit Sculptor  is divine Armageddon : it offers a  straight in your face rhythmic with short  stop start syncopes , a steady and relentless rhythmic,  melodic chords, blasting drum bursts . Angry and fast This View (pronounced  in a way that sometimes you  have the impression to hear -that's you- )  is another ride into extreme Melodic Death-Modern where the melody indeed  adds that feeling of hate and desperation: harsh massive riffages , catchy refrain, some Thrash influences and an implacable drumming that reminds many songs of Reroute to Remain... 

Title track Force the Pace presents even more diversified vocal timbres than This View, and wanders off  the seen In Flames -patterns,  launching on the contrary  a ultra rock based attitude and a obscure pitiless earthquacking ride at mach 3. In few words Withering Surface break the sound barrier not so much concerning speed in itself , but concerning uptempo roaring potency and power : Force the Pace is therefore the  proper title for this track and for the album too.  

Hold the line offers distorted background effects in intro and noradrenalinic sadness throughout the whole song, raw touching melodies, interesting arrangements, and an intense lead solo: another super track even if the influences from R2R are really many. 

It's through Machinery that we enter  the "second" part of the album: it is a journey in the cave of the angry beast, with some drive to Black in particular regarding vocals. Though hyperblasting , very fast and killing , aggressive and  super thundering, this track is not always completely fluent and  enjoyable, especially in the passage of  the lead solo bridge, but  it has anyway the value to fly towards a new horizon that could combine the In Flames-like connotations to  abyssal characteristics,  literally rising the Dead, while  its outro provides a touch of class.  Inhale the Hyperpulse  is an elaborated  hyper heavy song but unfortunately , in my opinion, it doesn't win  the listeners like the other songs are doing: there is no  much attraction  both in musical path and instrumentation, though the song is pumped high and vocals damn themselves in order to make of it something suitable for  the rest of the album.  State of Emergency can be proud of an  insertion of semi acoustic -like guitars,  of  short pop up's of digital almost industrial noise and of an original varied drumming, but it's not an  "easy" song, and it needs much more  than a couple of  listening's in order to be appreciated.  Anything goes touches  Black metal influences  with its fingertips   and is , among the varied last songs of this album, the better one, the more interesting , mixing  the characteristics of the first part of the album  with Thrash elements ,  lead solo's in US Death direction, and Black "lieson". Urban Glasses  uses here and there short-timed filters of distortion for vocals and instruments, but it is the thundering final of terror with insertion of "glassy" (indeed)  melodies and ambience noises . Anyway the first part of  Force the Pace , with all its now notorious In Flames-esque influences remains for me the best one, even if i appreciate so much the elements of the latest songs, that , on the contrary , for others they  could represent the better core.  

All in all this is a thunderous Metal album to have, and i'm sure it will appeal not only to In Flames fans . I like to think that Force the Peace could have a wide reservoir even at the court of Raunchy,  At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity listeners, while the more Modern oriented metalheads who admire Korn and Lamb of God should find Withering Surface quite different, but attractive anyway. I am still glued to Gears and This View and if you want to be "glued" like me, check Force the Peace out. Salute! \m/


Rating: 8/10

 

dalia di giacomo    
 

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