Withered – Dualitas (Prosthetic Records)

Wednesday, 20th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Seriously, how do you knock a band like Withered? They’re everything most North American bands aren’t, which in essence, is forward-thinking, hard-working, and under the aid of an unlimited scope. In fact, that’s what hurts these guys – sound-wise, they’re too broad and unwilling to cop-out to one direct style, as the constant collision of black metal and doom metal might too hard for some to grasp. The follow-up to 2008’s immense Folie CirculaireDualitas is sure to be another critic’s choice and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be – it’s freakin’ colossal.

Like its predecessor, Dualitas often finds itself in that reclusive little sphere of atmospheric black metal that requires spurts of melody to keep things moving, and that’s what Withered does. Just reference the surge that envelopes “Aethereal Breath” and try to not be convinced these guys really are BM – it sure as hell sounds like it. Then again, there are portions of this album that are as beefy and muscular as any Johnny-come-lately Mastodon wannabe, so again, Withered just refuses to settle.

The trembly “Seek the Shrouded” goes for the throat with some seismic blasts, while “From Shadows” gradually settles into a slo-mo, devastating groove with a haunting main riff wrapping its tentacles around the number. “The Progenitor’s Grasp” emerges as the best number of this 8-song offering, as head dude Mike Thompson lets out a flurry of totally-Nordic bellows, all the while his bandmates keep the earth shaking with more black metal movements. See, told you this thing was mostly black.

In all likelihood, Withered, will continue to skirt past message board hagglers, various scene police enforcers, and anyone else with a fast opinion. Dualitas just carries itself too well for such injustices to happen, so for the time being, the boys from Atlanta will remain one of the underground’s best-kept secrets, which in the end could work – at some point this band is really going to steamroll everyone.

www.myspace.com/withered

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)