Withered
Grief Relic

Ive been a big fan of Atlanta’s Withered since 2005s Stockholm meets Mastodon lurch of Memento Mori. Even the bands foray into blacker realms with 2008s Folie Circulaire and 2010s Dualitas were impressive. Even more so since I got to hang out with and drink a beer with frontman and founder Mike Thompson back in 06 on a tour with Grave and Dismember.

But now with a label shift, considerable line up change (multi talented  guitarist Colin Marston of Krallice and Gorguts and drummer Beau Brandon have joined since Dualitas) and a 6 year gap between records can Withered return to the top of the US metal heap? Well that’s affirmative. And even with Marston in their ranks, his time in Gorguts appears to have rubbed of on Thompson, as the band has returned to a grimier, earthier and more dissonant death/doom metal clamor. The  vocals also appear to have shifted back into deeper realms, as the entire focus is less tremolo picked than the last album, and much more brooding and imposing.

The sludgy feedback laden romps on Grief Relic are not catchy or immediate , but dirgey, controlled, atonal lopes that burrow and scrape. Again, the Gorguts influence is very prominent as shown on the likes of “Leathery Rind”, the lumbering personal favorite “Withdraw” , “Downward” and the perfectly titled “Distort, Engulf”.  Closer “To  Glimpse Godliness” has a patient, tribal lurch that’s unsettling, littered with blacker textures, and the whole track ends the album with a soul collapsing, but sudden highlight. The whole album is full of such shudders and turns that unfurl and slither with each listen. Don’t expect this to have any singles or go to moments, just 38 minutes of sonic,  twisted gnarl.

There are still some husks of USBM influence as heard on “A Realm of Suffering”, “Feeble Gasp”, and “Husk” or some higher register shrieks throughout, but for the most part, Grief Relic, seem to be a more earthier, death/doom assault that cuts some of the black metal/ambient fat (the songs are far shorter and to the point also) and signals that Withered are confidently back in the saddle after a long layoff.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 25th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jay

    Sick review Erik. I’ve loved these guys since the first album and this one is a crumbling, collapsing monster of weighted riffage.


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