originally written by Jim Brandon
The Hungering Void was my introduction to Stockholm, Sweden’s Withershin, and so after going back and investigating 2008’s Ashen Banners, this three-song EP seems a little less noteworthy than the full-length debut. That’s not to say this is fifteen pointlessly wasted minutes of our lives, because it will definitely satisfy those who await the band’s next long-player.
A bit less raw but denser in presentation than the debut, “Wherein I Exalt” is a sword drawn slowly and calmly, just before a full-on assault comes forth, charging into a familiar Merrimack/Keep Of Kalessin flurry which makes cutaways to more grandiose and ascendant sections in fairly convincing and well-executed form, pulling ropes of melody through Nine’s scraped screams and a hyperactive outburst of drums. The last couple of minutes of the opener are just whispers and windy effects that really have no place on a release such as this, but the following title track greatly ups the ante with shades of malicious Ayat coming through with callously spat vocals and white-knuckled riffs in abundance. “Crossing The Threshold” is the least aggressive of the three tracks, but there is a palpable confidence within the unrushed and steadfast midpaced legato that makes for an interesting contrast against the previous two barrages.
Perhaps it’s because I liked Ashen Banners so much that The Hungering Void has made less of an impact, but this slightly above-average EP isn’t too unappetizing even when dealing with the dead air “Wherein I Exalt” mistakenly closes with. Once the dust settles, I can see these three tunes being more successful in the context of a full-length, but my desire to hear more is a good thing rather than being brought about by any overall dissatisfaction. So if you enjoy compact, but familiar black metal with a knack for putting a bit of melodic death into the mix, then this EP should tide you over until a more involved and extensive Withershin release arrives, and I will wait along with you.