WITHERING SURFACE have been together since the early/mid nineties. They’ve always played Melodic Death Metal but their discography tells another story if you’ve followed them all the way.
“Force The Pace” is the bands fourth stop. They’ve been into technical, atmospherical and Rock areas with their music on previous albums, so naturally they are trying something different with their new long player, which is also their first release for Italy’s Scarlet Records.
Like it or not, this album travels the same route taken by bands like SOILWORK and IN FLAMES (soon to be walked by ARCH ENEMY haha). I’m not saying that it’s a carbon copy of these bands but stylewise there are some parallels, like the subtle electronics and the powerful modern sound wall. WITHERING SURFACE are heavier though and darker, they haven’t written any poppy single songs ala “The Quiet Place” or “Departure Plan” (although “Gears” would have worked well as a single release), they’re still a Death Metal band, one of the few Modern Death Metal bands that don’t feel the need to practice clean vocals and insist on having a happy chorus just because it’s “in” at the moment.
The guitars are prepped and ready to go from the start, loads of good old Melodic Death Metal riffing and lead melodies are found in each song. “Machinery” has some massive Death/Thrash riffs used together with Michael H. Andersen’s harsh vocals (layered with some kind of robotic effect) a very brutal and likeable track. “Urban Glasses” is a nice variation from the other tracks, the arrangements are more experimental (on a successful level) rather than speedy and brutal.
The solos are faster than the ones on “Walking On Phantom Ice”, a lot more groovy and Rock like. Overall the band is more heavy and faster; Michael’s vocals don’t sound experimental at all (of course there are some moments) Nikolaj’s drumming is more energised than ever and the guitar duo of Allan Tvedebrink and Jacob Krogholt decided to record the album with four guitar layers!!!
In conclusion, “Force The Pace” has some great vibes but also a feeling of deja vu every now and then, a good album with a killer production sound! (Online July 24, 2004)