Now that the band chose to retire (R.I.P. guys) just as things seemed to look promising, I guess this album will never meet its rival, not on this plane of existence anyway. Denmark’s WITHERING SURFACE were a rather unknown band to many, they released four good, though not groundbreaking, full-length albums, toured outside their country, received international praise, they just never got out there like the rest of their companions, partly because of internal conflicts which in the end lead to the band’s exit.
I myself always knew of the band’s whereabouts but never got around to really test them, so I borrowed “The Nude Ballet” off a friend and decided to take some time to identify the sound of the band. Listening to this album is like going back a few years, back to the early/mid nineties to be precise, when the Gothenburg Death Metal sound was forged, stripped of modern influences, experimental song writing and cleanly sung choruses, nothing but the good ol’ first wave mix of melody and aggression.
IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY, two of the originators of the sound, must’ve been a crucial influence on these guys. The Danes have many similar touches but they also draw inspiration from the Black Metal sound in terms of vocal technique and atmosphere, even symphonic keys are used here and there. The band’s strongest assets are the screeching vocals and the melodic guitar work, these two ingredients create the atmosphere through Michael Andersen’s lamented (sometimes abstract) poetry supplying Allan Tvedebrink’s emotive guitar lines, best examples of this cooperation is heard in songs like “Ode For You”, “Whorebride” and “Nude & Humble”. “Breathing Purple”, the album’s best track, has a heavier attitude mixed with fewer melodies and a breathtaking solo section.
This will always be my favourite W.S. album, even if it has some less memorable songs. “Black As I”, despite the cool drum intro that launches the song into movement, contains a very misplaced happy like Death Metal section and why “The Last One” tries to be some kind of sad ballad is beyond my understanding, probably because it was a new approach to the sound back in the late nineties but for some reason this one didn’t come out fresh or mood challenging. The album was recorded at Studio Fredman with the creators of the well produced sound being Fredrik Nordström and IN FLAMES front man Anders Fridén.
If I’m not mistaking, the album is out of print but you can always check with the band on this matter since their website is still active. If well-executed Melodic Death Metal with occasional keyboards is what you seek, this album should have all the necessary ingredients to satisfy your needs, you might find it on the shelves yet, happy hunting. (Online March 1, 2005)