Withered
Folie Circulaire

The debut, Memento Mori, from Atlanta’s Withered was a killer Stockholm sounding Doom/Death effort that got unfairly touted as a Mastodon clone due to the geography of the band. Three years later and Withered have returned with a new label and a slightly tweaked sound. But fear not the tweaking is a blacker, sicker, and more experimental tweak that makes Folie Circulaire, along with the new Krallice  album, one of the most deep, engrossing American metal albums I’ve heard in a long time.

Gone is the Mike Green Sunlight Studio mimicking production and Kylesa’s Phillip Cope handled  this affair (with Scott Hull mastering) and the end result is a grittier, more treble based yet still mid range heavy affair, aiding in the overall blacker tones. Vocally, Mike Thompson has less of a presence with his deeper gruffer roars and Chris Freeman has increased in the amount of higher pitched screams. Also, gone are the 9 minute doomier songs as Folie Circulaire features 10 slightly shorter songs, including a cover of Necrophobic’s “Into Armageddon” ( a cover that fits perfectly and fluidly into the whole sound of the album) -need I harp on the increased black metal influence any more?

Ultimately, with all the above, blacker elements in place along with the band’s love of the Stockholm scene and some innate Mastodon influence, the end result is an album that sounds like Mastodon covering Dissection, Weakling and Entombed’s Left Hand Path-and if that mix sounds inhumanly great, good. It is. This album is simply stunning.

Intro “To Embrace…” hints at greatness before the Mastodon-ish percussive roll opens “The Fated Breath” and then the song careens into a full on scathing blast beat before a loping ambient, scrawling segment and a virulent climax of blackened fury. And that’s just the first song. With the exception if interlude “The Forsaken Truth”, each subsequent track from the draining melodies of “Dichotomy of Exile”, the epic build of “Gnosis Unveils”, sublime layering of “Purification of Ignorance” and “Drawn Black Drapes”, menacing elegance of album apex “Reveal the Essence of Suffering” and even the Stockholm chug of “Clamor Beneath”, every single track is just sheer, enthralling bliss that peels back and exposes more brilliance with each listen. The variety and mood of each track simply draws you in with its mix of sludge, Scandinavian black metal, Stockholm heft and post rock patience.

Prosthetic is having a killer year, but this tops it all. This is soooooo fucking good it hurts and my year end list just got a top 5 entry. Hands down.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 3rd, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    This sounds amazing. I enjoyed their first one a lot and never understood all the Mastodon comparisons either. I can’t wait to pick this up. Great review.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    wow this is great – at first I wasn’t hearing the black metal but then it came through loud and clear on tracks 2 and 3 – so far this is better than the last Cobalt album as far as a fresh, crushing take on the genre


  3. Commented by: Dan

    This sounds like my cup of tea for sure. Some old school death metal dragged kicking and gurgling into the 21st century. a priority purchase.


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