To say that Wither is a challenging listen is a bit of an understatement. It’s a struggle to fully connect with the album and it does feel like it’s eight tracks of the same ideas repeated over and over.
The main problem with the release is the sheer length. Naturally, progressive death metal is a genre that comes with lengthy songs but with Wither it does feel like it’s too much and there are several tracks that could easily have a good few minutes shaved off without listeners being any the wiser. Opener Confined By Evil is one such track and because it drags so much, it means the album doesn’t get off to the best of starts. Personally, I think it would worked better to begin with the acoustic title track, which sits rather awkwardly and out of place in the middle of the album.
However there isn’t a happy medium with this album because the shortest ‘full’ track of the release, Severence, seems too short and almost unfinished. It’s like it has more to give but doesn’t ultimately deliver, which is a shame. It just struggles to make an impact and doesn’t really make an impression on you.
With a bit of work – namely cutting out the more repetitive material and fleshing out some of the more unfinished-sounding ideas – this has the potential to be good but currently Wither falls quite short. It’s a shame because it’s clear the talent is there – but Descend unfortunately don’t appear to be firing with all cylinders with this one.