Release date: June 7, 2004

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

This Danish quintet is back with a new effort; their fifth album so far. Withering Surface has always been a band in the “almost there” category — they have made good albums, but none truly killer, and unfortunately Force the Pace follows their historical precedents. The band’s style, off hand, is outrageously unoriginal, Melodic Death Metal, and this essentially is the biggest problem with the album.

If this had been a killer album, I would definitely have written something like “this record’s on fire,” because the style is so In Flames that it’s not even funny. In fact, this could very well be a compilation of In Flames B-sides. Still, though, this analogy also means that it’s probably a good album … and so it is. “This View,” “Gears,” “Exit Sculpture,” and the title track are very good songs, and the album is a smorgasbord of catchy riffs and choruses, but unfortunately the sandwiches are not fresh. If there’s one thing I do not fancy, it’s sweaty, soft cheese, and there are enough old dairy products here to make more than my stomach turn upside-down. There are the quasi-Iron Maiden-on-steroids guitar riffs, the combination of screaming and aggressively clean vocals, and use of electronic effects thrown in for good measure … yeah, I’m guessing you get my point by now.

Still, again, I dig this style of Metal and I can’t say that Force The Pace is a bad album (o.k., so maybe I got a bit harsh in the last sentence), although it’s all been done a thousand times before. The musicianship is indeed impeccable, with a great twin-guitar attack, singer and rhythm section, and the production quality is definitely up to par. Complete Gothenburg Death Metal lunatics may buy it – and I guess a few others will too – but just remember that it’s all been done (better) before. The chorus to “Gears” begins like this: “All I ever wanted/was to be like you” … and that pretty much sums up the entire album.

Now I’m headed towards some slices of freshly baked bread (I’m at my mom’s place now, you know) with brand-new, unopened, Norwegian brown cheese. Ahoy!


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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