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June 20, 2024

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Withered Earth
Forgotten Sunrise [cassette] (Self-Released)

By: Jeb Brainin

Rochester, New York's WITHERED EARTH is a band whose name I've seen floating around a lot lately. I was glad to finally get to hear them. "Forgotten Sunrise" is, I believe, their debut full length release. Their sound is an interesting mix of the "tried and true" and the unexpected. As the tape began with the title track followed by "The Nocturnium Empire" I was all set to be disappointed. Both songs suffer from a lack of originality. Things improve slightly on track three "Heaven's Abandon" which has a couple of interesting things going on that make it distinctive but it still doesn't stand up and demand to be counted. Then it happens. "Dominion Under Angels / The Astral Dread" is the last song on side one and the band catches fire. Incorporating some really clever breaks and contrasts the tune is extremely impressive. As I turn the tape over it only gets better. Side two has songs with a multitude of personalities. From slow and pounding to eclectic and quirky. The band uses a lot on contrasts in these fours songs. Melodic guitars juxtaposed against sheer noise. Blazing speed broken up by slow, doom like moments. It all works wonderfully. Even the vocalist seems to let loose more. His voice is less one dimensional and he lets himself experiment with a variety of deranged tones. He even has a multi layered spoken word break that works well. This is a release that if I had it on CD I would listen to it on random play to circumvent the lumped mediocrity at the first of the album.
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