Withered - _Dualitas_
(Prosthetic Records, 2010)
by: Aaron McKay (9.5 out of 10)
Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" has had a significant impact in modern culture, as well as L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics" to some people. Add those to the myriad of ivory tower classes on philosophy courses from Swedenborg to Tocqueville to Korsgaard and Carmichael stirring in hints of ABC's "Lost" series for good measure. Notwithstanding these examples or anyone's philosophical outlook has much ever held any sway with this writer's own personal beliefs. That aside, Withered's impeccably executed _Dualitas_ is itself steeped high in theoretical self-authentication of a conjectural notion that could easily be referred to as "abstract conception". Throughout _Dualitas_ Withered walks the listener song-by-song through their postulated philosophy.

Having formed in 2003 and hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Withered has most recently issued forth _Dualitas_ comprising the third overall effort for the band, and it is the second offering on Prosthetic Records. Released late in 2010, Withered solidly rocked the metal community on its heels with _Dualitas_, following up on the widely regarded brilliant 2008 _Folie Circulaire_; _Memento Mori_ debuted in 2005 on Lifeforce Records.

There are powerfully strong visual representations throughout _Dualitas_ that are indispensably associated with the theme unveiled during the course of the disc. These illustrations come as complements of Paul Romano, maybe best known for his work for Mastodon. Tied closely with Withered's unique situational perspective explored on _Dualitas_, the deepest, most captivating recesses of this album dwell overwhelmingly the actual music itself. Referred to by some as post-modern black metal, this particular labeling confines such resourcefully adept and cunning metalers as Withered far too much. During a show opening for Marduk and Toxic Holocaust (at a date added to the "Blackest of the Black" main tour), a concertgoer at the show commented that Withered sounded exactly like "a tornado colliding with a hurricane".

Withered have mastered the nebulous gray area between bone-crushing heaviness and doomy, atmospheric oppressiveness. Up-tempo guitar murmuring braided beautifully at times with punishing low end bass and drums, Withered never leaves the listener complacent or disinterested.

_Dualitas_ opens with the emotionally impassioned "Extinguished With the Weary" and then delves sympathetically into the fainted recesses of "Residue in the Void". "Seek the Shrouded" offers an exacting foray into Withered's penchant for dynamic and rough 'n' coarse playing in their style. Track four, referenced as the "interlude", leads caustically into the rhythmically rich and opaque "From the Shadows". "The Progenitor's Grasp" crescendos from near balad-esque guitar playing into an unmeasured emphatic tempo before lulling the listener back to the track's original more melodious point-of-entry. Culminating the majesty of _Dualitas_, before the outro, the over eight minute "Aethereal Breath" commands your attention. It is all here. "Aethereal Breath" laces in variations of striking and impassioned riffs, cavernous drums, vocal intensity with a bit of airier, symphonious intervals.

Withered defies classification. _Dualitas_ is absolutely astounding and belongs in the top 10 releases of 2010. Regardless of whatever course or direction Withered chooses to follow, with material and musicianship such that can be found on _Dualitas_, the path for them is one destined for success and accolades. Magnificent effort, gentlemen!

Contact: http://prostheticrecords.com

(article published 27/1/2011)

9/17/2008 J Ulrey 9 Withered - Folie Circulaire
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