Songs for the Withering (Century Media)
by Martin Popoff
First off, this is the best production job I’ve heard in ages. Opening track “Nameless” positively splashes into the room like a big pail of mercury on hardwood flooring, Rapture matching the majesty with their gorgeous, navy-blue brand of Finnish depressant rock somewhere between Sentenced, Amorphis, Katatonia, and Daylight Dies. “Then Gallows” opens with unstoppable twin leads and there’s no turning back: This will positively be one of a handful of albums I’ll play a sick amount of obsessive times this year, tracks four and five, “Transfixion” and “The Vast,” doing much the same thing to metal’s mournful heartstrings, Tomi and Aleksi weaving frost rock magic with axes of ice.
Twin clean and death vocals trade magnificently throughout, in somewhat increasingly cliché fashion. But then again, Rapture are in early on the second (third?) wave of this genre I dig thoroughly. It’s the next 20 bands to come that I might not embrace so joyfully. Smooth, driving, immediate, groovy, and clean Finnish churn-metal delivered with the utmost hi-fidelity by Tuomo Valtonen from SundiCoop and Mika Jussila and Finnvox, Songs for the Withering is a more than fitting follow-up to Futile, the band’s debut, now three years old. Pointer for pointed ears: Work your way (eventually and studiously) to the last track, where Rapture turn in a seven-minute doom monster with spoken word lyrics, the band ringing out the record slow and repetitious, like My Dying Bride as interpreted by Pink Floyd.