|Tortured blackened death masters WITHERED will release their new full-length, ‘Verloren,’ on June 25 via Season of Mist Underground Activists! The devastating first single, “By Tooth in Tongue,” is available now along with an intense and disturbing music video accompaniment, which was created by Guilherme Henriques.|
|From its inception, WITHERED has been an outlier, a perplexing charge of extremity which the metal scene has never been able to put its finger on. “We want to compound new elements into every album,” posits guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson, “and we’re definitely a band for metal nerds. Our audience seems to be the old-schoolers who are absorbed by this stuff every day and jaded folks of a certain age. Industry types and peers tend to get it, but that’s about it.” Thompson’s self-deprecating assessment of his creative output might be part gentlemanly humility talking or a harshly realistic take on WITHERED’s cult status, or somewhere in between, but with an impressive body of work fanned out over the course of 18 years and five albums which have weathered as many trends, the Atlanta quartet continues to confound and refuses to compromise. |
The new album, Verloren, is the band’s most daring and iconoclastic work yet, one that spits in the eye of complacency and exists as a contrarian masterstroke. Originally formed by Thompson and ex-guitarist/vocalist Chris Freeman in 2003 following a spell in local grind institution Social Infestation (alongside Mastodon’s Troy Sanders), WITHERED’s initial goal was to re-write black, doom and death metal modes and mores. To that end, the band has achieved that goal as their sound and aesthetic refuses to clearly state which subgenre they call home. Over the course of its history, WITHERED has generated more questions than answers about who they are and what they do. They’ve toured with the varied likes of Mastodon, High on Fire, Dismember, Grave, Vital Remains, Possessed, Watain, Mayhem, 1349, Krallice, Skeletonwitch, and Danzig. Their live show provides an air of never-know-what-you’re-gonna-get mystery. See them on one occasion and it’s a DIY kick in the gut with stripped-down, rehearsal room bareness appropriately complementing the lunacy. The next time they get in the van they’ll do so accompanied by rigged-up columns of light cloaking the stage in bloody reds and searing whites.
As WITHERED enters its third decade, they’ve drawn a more insular and conclusive line in the sand. The band has forged further forward with the process of eschewing typicality, including not utilizing any of the usual producer suspects to help sculpt Verloren. Instead, they flew the flag of independence by again going down the route of self-production with Thompson himself taking the bull by its horns.
“We get a little bit more deliberate every time around and starting with Grief Relic we decided not to hire anyone to help produce and filter it through a particular lens. We started self-producing and I kind of took the reins on that last time and more so this time and also when it came to selecting who was going to engineer [Raheen Amlani at Orange Peel Recordings], then mix [Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios] and master it [Jarrett Pritchard]. The trick is to find someone who loves Times of Grace as much as they love Clandestine and His Hero is Gone, Napalm Death, and all the way out to later Enslaved and can balance all those things. If it’s truly honest and truly communicating the intention of a song, then it’ll be powerful, heavy, and generate emotion.”