Writhe is an atmospheric black metal band based out of England. One man projects are a dime a dozen these days and you have to be extremely unique to stick out and cause any sort of ripple in what is a massive ocean of music. When I gave Writhes demo a listen for the first time, all I heard was just another 'cookie cutter' atmospheric black metal project, but when I delved back into it and give it my full attention, what I discovered was truly beautiful.
Writhe is a band that you really need to listen to truly appreciate what is going on. If you put The Shrouded Grove on as your 'background' music, you will never hear the true potential of the release. Once fully devoted to listening, you hear the intensity, passion, sadness, and sorrow within the music. The sole member behind the project, John, put his heart and soul into the music and has created something so dark that it is beautiful in a multitude of ways.
The drumming is intense and fast, never really letting up on the intense double kick or fast blast beats. That being said, the drums are in no way overwhelming. They are very much in the back of the mix and compliment the track well. While I wouldn't be surprised that a drum machine was used, it was done so very well and its hard to tell unless you know what to listen for. The guitars are the main focus of both tracks and while the vocals take the forefront at points, what really shines forth is the use of melody within the guitars. The melancholic feel most melodies have give a very gloomy feel to the whole release, leaving a lasting impression on the listener. The vocals are used sporadically and to mainly enhance an already encompassing song. The vocals explore themes of isolation and loneliness, lending to the shadowy feel of The Shrouded Grove. Clean vocals are also utilized to calm the listener into an almost sedated feel while the impending sense of sadness can be felt in the background.
Overall, this twenty minute demo is unbelievable. The amount of emotion packed into such a short amount of time is quite astounding, leaving me wanting more from Writhe. While this is a tough listen to fully appreciate and understand, once you do, the reward is certainly great.