Withered are different. I realize many reviewers have stated this about thousands of other bands, but sometimes you get something in your inbox that really stands out. They are not new to the metal tapestry, and they have toured with Mastodon, High On Fire, Dismember, Grave, Watain, 1349, Mayhem, and many other greats.
Several albums into their career, and the band has delivered Verloren, which translates to “missing” in German. As Mike Thompson (vocalist/guitarist) explains, it is not just family and friends that have been lost, but it also includes things we took for granted until the pandemic. It touches on past traumas and griefs. The album feels like a conceptual journey through damnation and hell as it takes the listener on a cinematic trip of intense melancholy and gloom.
Verloren features many lumbering, monstrous songs that are ripe with spirit-crushing grandeur. The epic and doom-laden “By Tooth In Tongue” vibrates with menace. “Dissolve” has furious, unrelenting swathes of epic terror that segue into splendid riffs in a fine balance of delicately considered compositions and marauding, ruthless evil. The track “Passing through…” is beyond disturbing and is supposedly the result of field recordings captured at a funeral. It exudes a dirty, putrid black metal vibe, and if you sit and think about how disturbing funeral services are, it’s rather clever.
Withered have certainly given us a treat with this album, and it’s good if you like something off the beaten path.
Verloren is out June 25 on Season of Mist Underground Activists. Buy it here!