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Review: Withering - Gospel Of Madness
Gospel Of Madness

Label: Firebox Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 51:30
Tracks: 11
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: July 11, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (6 Votes)

I had a hard time categorizing this one, as Withering draw on a lot of different subgenres to create their sound. This is a debut, and a really impressive one at that. After one listen, it would surprise no one that this band is from Finland, as they have the fingerprints of that sound all over their CD.

Withering play a slow, highly melodic, doomy style of Death Metal very similar to early Amorphis or Sentenced. There is also some Eternal Tears Of Sorrow going on here, as well as a bit of old Amon Amarth. The music here is mostly slow, but not funeral slow, just slow to mid with absolutely fantastic melodic riffs and leads all over. This is just a tour de force of involving, melancholy riffs cascading one after another. If you love the haunting, melancholic melodies conjured up by Eternal Tears Of Sorrow on their later albums, then this will be a treat. Rhythm and crunch are definitely second-place here, (though not ignored) and this is not what anyone would call 'brutal' by any stretch. The vocals are guttural and harsh, but they are mixed way low, and don't obtrude. The real center stage is for those soulful licks that carry every song. "Northern Breeze" starts things off with an addictive riff you will never stop humming, and the disc continues on with more great songs: "Two Suns", the moving "Penance", and the incredible "Justification For Unavoidable". But there are no skippers or blah tracks on this thing, and every tune is enjoyable.

Withering have produced a stirring debut of doomy, melodic, slightly Viking-inflected Death Metal that will certainly appeal to any fan of bands I mentioned earlier. Even those not normally enamored of Death Metal might find a good listen here, as this is pretty far from the normally violent confines of the style, and stands as arresting and compulsively listenable music by any regard. A highly recommended album.

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