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Withered - Verloren review

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Band: Withered
Album: Verloren
Release date: June 2021

01. By Tooth In Tongue
02. The Predation
03. Dissolve
04. Casting In Wait
05. Passing Through
06. ...The Long Hurt
07. Verloren
08. From Ashen Shores

I can't say that you can always know how a Withered album will sound like before you hear it, but you can place a safe bet on it being oppressive.

It's tough to place a genre tag on Withered, not because of their music being especially out there. We do currently have them tagged as "blackened death", and that's the best you can do with just two descriptors, but that would be ignoring the doom, the sludge, the noise and the grind. Like I said, nothing too out-there, since there are plenty of bands that play within the bounds of extreme metal with its different subgenres. However I still think there is something unique about Withered. They're not the most innovative, nor the harshest, nor the slowest, nor the fastest. They just have something that somehow managed to make it difficult for them to latch on properly to a genre tag, which seems to have been to their detriment.

I got into Withered through their 2016 album Grief Relic, and it seems like there have been some significant lineup changes since. The core of the bands seems to remain intact with Mike Thompson on guitars and vocals and Beau Brandon on drums, but the other two make their debut here. The two newcomers were part of some thrash and sludge bands that don't have profiles here, but it's pretty hard to fill the shoes that the duo of Ethan McCarthy and Colin Marston had on Grief Relic, even if that is the only album that those two played on. However, I'd say that they do a pretty good job here. The sludge experience of new guitarist/vocalist Dan Caycedo seems to be the most vital here, since the sludge sound is a pretty being component of Verloren.

One of the things I always appreciated about Withered is the dual vocals approach. It's not the usual harsh/clean contrast that the approach usually garners, but their harsh vocals always seem to contrast one another regardless of who is Mike Thompson's counterpart. The expanded vocal palette deepens the impact of the feelings of anguish and despair that spew from an album whose title means "missing" in German. The songwriting on the album is pretty harsh, though not as harsh as the album's oppressive atmosphere, meaning that it's mostly focused on being sonically and emotionally crushing, but there is a little in terms of grooves, solos and memorable melodies that one can latch to, even if said oppressive atmosphere makes it pretty difficult. But, you know, it's far from the most inaccessible album out there. It's just really heavy in more ways than one. Hell even the ambient interludes are pretty heavy.

Written on 22.07.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 51 users
22.07.2021 - 11:38

but it's pretty hard to fill the shoes that the duo of Ethan McCarthy and Colin Marston had on Grief Relic

These are big names and I know everyone get their pants in a knot at the mere mention of ELM, but given how Grief Relic kind of sucked - well, maybe not sucked, but was massively disappointing compared to their previous output - I don't think those shoes are that hard to fill. I'd even go as far as stating that these two didn't really fill the shoes of Mike Longoria and Chris Freeman, or even Dylan Kilgore.

Now, I haven't been really impressed by the two singles, but Withered has always been an "album band" rather than a "song band". So, thanks for reminding me that I should add this to my playlist
22.07.2021 - 19:06

I liked their previous work more, this wasn't bad just mediocre imo.
"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."

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23.07.2021 - 12:43

Right, so on Grief Relic the band went for full-on speed and brutality, sometimes even resorting to mindless blasting, and as a result, the album lacked variation and was quite monotonous (Benighted syndrome, maybe?). Here on Verloren, the band returns to the formula of their first three albums. Songs are more varied, the band is not afraid to slow down a bit at times, they even introduced clean vocals, which is a first for them. I can't say they do it as successfully and as masterfully as they used to, but it's an improvement over the previous release. This is the Withered I like.

I think they could have worked a bit more on the production though, at times it sounds like a rough draft.

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