Rapture - _Songs for the Withering_
(Spinefarm, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7.5 out of 10)
_Songs for the Withering_ proves once again that a surprisingly good debut does not guarantee a great second album. Rapture's debut _Futile_ really hit the spot when it came out, its revival of Katatonia's _Brave Murder Day_ infused with a bleak character of its very own. As a result, it kept visiting my CD player with remarkable frequency for an unusually long period of time, and I would have happily given it a 9 out of 10. _Songs for the Withering_ is the disappointment that follows the pleasant surprise -- but truth be told, its first 1:15 left me so gutted that everything that followed was an improvement. My disappointment was caused by Rapture losing some of the emotional qualities of the depressive and bleak _Futile_. They have tried too hard to make a lot of songs on _SftW_ catchy, at the same time as they went for more chorus-based song structures (the last track, "Farewell", is basically the only exception). This plays a considerable part in wrecking some of the emotional qualities the album might have had, but Katatonia's _Discouraged Ones_ proved years ago that chorus-based structures do not necessarily have that effect every time. In fact, what contributed most to my disappointment with _Songs for the Withering_ was that so many of Rapture's excellent, emotional guitar leads have been replaced by simple, dull riffs. A lot more clean vocals can be found on the album, as Petri Eskelainen no longer does the harsh vox. A new vocalist was brought in for that purpose, and his performance is acceptable, apart from the mediocre blackened vocals. I still prefer the more subdued clean vocal approach on _Rapture_ to the hit-and-miss affair on this one (which can be heard in tracks like "The Great Distance"), but this isn't a major gripe. There are still some excellent passages on this album, but as usual in these cases they seem to make the rest all the more difficult to endure. For instance, there are some great bits on "Transfixion", but then there's the song's irritating chorus; similarly, the fine main guitar lead on "Enveloped" is practically wasted because of other sections on the song; and "Farewell" is a closing track that leaves you wishing more of the album had been like it. _Songs for the Withering_ is a good album nonetheless, and I am probably making it seem worse than it is for those who don't know Rapture; but it ultimately leaves the listener who does know _Futile_ with a feeling that so much more could have been accomplished and the album could have -meant- a whole lot more. These Finns do have immense talent, but it only occasionally shines through as brightly as it should on _Songs for the Withering_; but if they can find a consistent direction again, there will surely be an excellent third album.

Contact: http://www.rapture.tk

(article published 11/4/2003)

8/12/2000 P Azevedo Rapture: The Futility of It All
3/15/2005 P Azevedo 8 Rapture - The Silent Stage
1/15/2000 A Bromley 8 Rapture - Futile
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