With The End In Mind: Unraveling; Arising (Temple Of Torturous)

Ultra-heavy Pacific Northwest outfit return with formidable, atmospheric second album

Released Jul 6th, 2018 via Temple Of Torturous / By Erick Mertz
With The End In Mind: Unraveling; Arising (Temple Of Torturous) With The End In Mind’s newest release is about the gradual rise and release of tension. Just the name of the record, Unraveling; Arising implies a waxing and waning between gloomy doldrums and pulsing crescendo.

With The End In Mind are an Olympia, Washington band with Thresholder a three-track recording from 2013 their previous output. With only a single full-length album to their credit makes the band a relative newcomer. The first track here, Sings The Sky opens with a gentle sonic wash, undulating and discreet, a layer of sound that continues throughout the rest of the album. After a few moments, the band crashes in with grimy swells of guitars and thunderous percussion, which slowly cycle back into that wash. The vocals are hellish and guttural, projected out of some cold winter’s morass.

Atmospheric death metal succeeds on the suspension of disbelief that all that blackened anguish rising out of the background isn’t simply the product of corrupt landscape. In metal terms, it’s the wanderer troubadour’s genre, something With The End In Mind accomplishes successfully on a record where they cite loss and mourning as a central influence on the writing. The tracks are mostly long, the shortest of which, the title track clocks in at less than four minutes, serving as a bridge to the penultimate, From The True Source which feels like the album’s anguished climax. When the instrumentation finally penetrates the now anxious atmosphere, it is burning through the veil, smoky guitars highlighted with a series of satisfying solos that give the track (and vis-a-vis the album as a whole) an ascending, almost aspirational aspect.

What sets Unraveling; Arising apart from its contemporaries is how carefully arranged and patient the songs and production feel. There is a whole lot of space between the tracks, almost all of which build up and assemble slowly. When the mauling instrumentation eventually comes out of its fetid cocoon, it’s only after you’ve dwelled in that space for what feels like an eternity. With The End In Mind are a patient band, one of the few in their genre who can maintain the beguiling balance between restrained and aggressive. The final track, Wheeling, Endlessly Wheeling introduces a female vocal that I feel is misplaced on the record, perhaps not the track, but it’s overall decent.

This five-track album was first self-released two years ago. Now With The End In Mind is circling back to it, re-releasing their opus through Swedish label, Temple Of Torturous a path which ultimately begs the question of worthiness. After multiple immersive listens, I still find a lot to explore on Unraveling; Arising enough to say it’s a welcome reprise. 8/10