Withered
Verloren

In my 20 plus years of music ‘journalism’,  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting lots of folks at shows, for interviews, over the phone, etc. However, a few dudes standout out as absolutely the nicest , chillest guys I’ve met; all the chaps from Between the Buried and Me, Carnifex drummer Shawn Cameron, and Mike Thompson, of Withered who I first met way back in 2006 when they opened for Grave/Dismember in St Louis, Missouri.

So it’s a mite disturbing that such a super nice dude can be responsible for such a dark album in Verloren (‘loss’).

Withered has certainly been a dark band since the band’s more Swedish death metal debut, Memento Mori, back in 2005, with Folie Circulaire‘s  and Dualitasmore black metal experimentation, and the last effort Grief Relic having a more brooding, doomy dissonance (probably in part to the addition of Colin Marston of Krallice/Gorguts fame). However, on Verloren, past traumas as well the last year’s events globally and politically, appear to have opened deep personal wounds from each of the band members’ past and they have channeled all that pain, loss, and separation into a grim, brittle and unnerving album.

With Marston no longer in the band, Thompson and long timer drummer Beau Brandon, joined by newcomers Rafay Nabeel on bass and Dan Caycedo on guitars have delivered an album that encompasses a little of everything from the band’s last 3 efforts, all bound in a grim, grimy, raw delivery that’s as minimalistic and disturbing as the above video for opening track “By Tooth in Tongue”.

Still encompassing elements of sludge, black metal, and doom metal, the seething tumble of an album is a palpably personal affair. With Thompson adventurously adding some pained clean vocals to the gruff growls and howls, the album isn’t a quick, memorable, or pleasant listen. There are no catchy riffs or rollicking gallops, just this despondent, discordant, lurch with occasional expulsions of abyssal,  blackened furor (i.e.”The Predation”), and NOT the melodic kind.

You won’t remember songs or riffs from the likes of “Dissolve”, “The Casting Wait”, “The Long Hurt”, or closer “From Ashen Shores”. However, you will find yourself drained of all hope and happiness, leaving you a brittle, shallow husk of self-loathing and despair.

Way to go Mike…now I need therapy and a prescription for Sertraline after listening to Verloren multiple times…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 5th, 2021

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