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Force the pace (CD)
Already a decade into their troubled career come 2004, Denmark's Withering Surface have haunted the outskirts of death metal success for far too long; and given this latest album's competent but generally indistinctive contents, chances are they'll be relegated to the fringes for still a while longer. You've heard the tale a hundred times: hard working unit has a tough time hanging on to a stable lineup, stumbles from one nearly-bankrupt indie label to another every other year, and fails to secure a loyal following due to sporadic touring and some ill-advised trend-hopping along the way. Such was the case for Withering Surface, who after years immersed in the melodic/gothic Gothenburg style of death metal, now appear to have reinvented themselves as neo-thrashers (hence the self-explanatory album title Force the Pace) like current outfits Hatesphere, the Haunted, and Arch Enemy, to name but a few. Not that Withering Surface don't have the experience or the sheer moxie to pull off the switch (vocalist Michael H. Andersen's spitting, screeching delivery actually suits itself perfectly to neo-thrash); it's just that their songwriting remains merely proficient without actually qualifying as great. Songs like "Exit Sculpture," "This View" and "Anything Goes" race by with single-minded intensity and almost inexistent qualities worth mentioning (or remembering); and it's usually only when they resort to well-placed bits of techno-derived synth effects (see opener "Gears," the harmony-heavy "Hold the Line," and the initially trip-hopping "State of Emergency") that Withering Surface achieve anything remotely original. Even the song "Machinery," which offers a nod back to the band's once melodic, Gothenburg-derived style, merely manages to sound like In Flames gone neo-thrash, and not very convincingly, at that. Plus, except for rare shots at actual singing or deep-throated cookie monster growls, Andersen's nearly ubiquitous raspy shriek becomes as one-dimensional as it is grating after half an hour or so. Somewhat akin to Force the Pace as a whole, actually, leaving little hope that it will be able to catapult Withering Surface to the next level.
39 SEK 
 
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Specifications
Type: CD
Recorded: 2004
Release Date: 2004-07-16
Label: Scarlet Records
Country: Euro
Item No: SC 089-2
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Track List
01 Gears
02 Exit Sculpture
03 This View
04 Force The Pace
05 Hold The Line
06 Machinery
07 Inhale The Hyper Pulse
08 State Of Emergency
09 Anything Goes
10 Urban Glasses
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