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Withersoul : Demo 2004

The stunning intro 'A Dirge for the Forsaken' raises the expectations for this demo to dazzling heights. Crushing, heavy guitars at snail pace are accompanied by the majestic, ritualistic sound of a church organ. If Skepticism hear this, they'll be green with envy. This is one of the best intro's I've ever heard on a doom metal album: ice-cold and chillingly melancholic.

Also the first forty seconds of the following track are absolutely engaging: brilliant melodic guitar work - excellently produced as in the rest of the album - and a deep grunt set the tone, making us believe that we are about to be treated on some extreme doom of the highest quality. Unfortunately this is only partly true. Enter the female vocals.

Now I must admit that I'm not fond of the way female vocals are used in about 95% of all metal releases and this is unfortunately one of the cases where they stand in the way of the compositions rather than adding to them. They are comparable to those of The River, but although there they seem to work very well, here they rather distract from an otherwise perfect whole. The vocal lines are not that special and here and there the bad demon of doom metal (out of tune singing) rears its ugly head.

Fortunately the grunts/screams that accompany them work much better and add a more acceptable (read: not cringe inducing) element of agony to the demo. Perhaps the whole would have worked better if they were used more often and the female voice was mostly used as a background instrument (as it happens on some sections of this demo, and it works very well).

As it stands, this remains a brilliant, very promising demo. Although the funeral pace appears to be only sporadic, the faster parts and occasional brutal outbursts work really well and there is even a staggering guitar solo at the end of 'Forever, I will burn' courtesy of Corey Smoot of Gwar who also produced this album. It is definitely worth to download the free tracks on their soundclick page and make up your mind about them. Personally, I think that if they balance out the grunt/female vocals better, they will be soon a force to be reckoned with in the doom scene.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. A Dirge for the Forsaken (intro)
2. Now Yours…
3. Forever, I Will Burn
4. Exasperation's Tears

Duration : Approx. 32 minutes

Visit the Withersoul bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kostas Panagiotou
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