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Withering Surface's first release "Scarlet Silhouettes" was followed by a very powerful sounding demo called "Unique". Only one song from "Unique" was remastered for their first release which was "Behind The Other Side", however with that remaster in mind, this album has special qualities and a bunch of fresh tracks that really sets the tone for this band. Better production allows the instruments to flow throughout this record as well as enhance the vocal power of singer Michael Andersen who switches between harsh death metal growls with banshee like screams. Lyrical themes are very unique to say the least, as depressed ballods such as "...And She Blossomed" (which featured guest vocals), "Majestic Mistress", "Farewell", "Your Shadow My Shelter" really show the bands catchy nature. Lots of great guitarwork all over this record as we would expect from a Melodic Death Band, the first title track 'Scarlet Sillouettes", and "BeautyBeast" show very strong guitar techniques which very much fits into the style very well. I also enjoy the keyboards as well, as they bring great atmopshere throughout this release. All in all I have to say this is their best and most motivated album, and I feel fortunate to have some of their influences in my own guitar style.
If I had to review Scarlet Silhouettes in one word, it would be: meh. This is mediocre stuff. It's melodic death metal, but not especially melodic: most of the melodies seemed uninspired and boring to me.
The quality of the guitar lines is all over the place. In some tracks the guitars are pretty neat. In other tracks the guitars play very simple lines that make me think the guitarists phoned it in. All in all, there are some moments of enjoyable guitarwork, but it's not consistent. The drums are simplistic, and the band falls back to relying upon heavy repetitive drumbeats to heighten the aggression, which for me detracts from things. The band mixes in keyboards here and there but they didn't add anything for me.
The singing really didn't work for me. There is a black metal influence here; some might enjoy that, but not me. Some lines are screamed, a la black metal; others are growled, like you'd expect for a death metal band; and others are basically spoken aloud, which felt out of place.
If we ignore the black metal influences, there are a few decent songs here. The best track is probably the opener, "Scarlet Silhouettes", though for me it is marred by the screaming vocals and the weak drums.
All in all, this album is OK. It's listenable, but it's not great. I don't expect to listen to this again except occasionally, when I'm really desperate for variety.