By Dr. Abner Mality

The first time I encountered Chicago’s WITHERING SOUL, I was completely ambushed by the quality of their “Adverse Portrait” record...an excellent example of melodic black/death metal. Well, this time I’m ready for them! I’m expecting the same level of dark majesty I got on “Adverse Portrait”. And I’m not disappointed!

The band has a history going back to 2000 but they are very particular about releasing albums. They don’t put something out every other year because they feel they have to. It’s been six years since their last barnburner and “Last Contact” shows the signs of careful craftsmanship. They still remind me of NECROPHOBIC, but there are traces of DESULTORY and EDGE OF SANITY as well. Plus there is a unique feeling which seems to belong to WITHERING SOUL alone. Every song here has its own vibe and feeling. They have a brilliant knack for knowing when to change speed and riff...listen to the spotless transitions of “Of Blackened Pillars” and “Into the Harrowing Expanse”. Melody is deftly woven into blackened death riffs to the point where brutality and melody can’t be easily separated.

All the tracks here are worth your time, but I pick “The Transcendence of Night” as a special favorite. This kicks off with some great “war-like” riffs that will induce headbanging for sure. As for the vocals, they are harsh but not really typical death growls. Deep and angry would be the best description.

This band arises on an irregular schedule, so you have to keep sharp to find their intermittent offerings. “Last Contact” is another one that should be hunted down and savored.