Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Withered : "Grief Relic"

After  six years this Atlanta based band is back for their Seasons of Mist debut. Their return roars up from the depths with a cavernous blasting. Very dense and heavy, the intensity it hits you with from the onset begs a question we ask most bands that are this heavy after the opening song plows us over ...O.k what else can you do? Write Songs? "A Realm of Suffering" answers with a very similar roar. New addition Colin Marston's bass playing adds another sonic texture to this. Known for his technical death/black metal projects, he serves the songs more than one might expect. They add a layer of sonic dissonance midway into the song, to help give it an identity apart from the first song. This is very ugly and sonic death metal. There is more of a classic death metal sound on "Withdraw" which digs into the grime filled groove. The guitars are well layered thanks to Ethan from Primitive Man who has also joined their ranks, as the band now only holds tow of it's original members.

They flirt with some blackened elements on "Feeble Grasp", but return to the brand of death metal they are best at. The riffs morph back and forth on this one some of Beau's most impressive drumming. I had heard other drummers sing his praises, but never heard anything to really convince me until this song. There is one riff that takes you back to the early days of Mastodon where sludge met death metal. This is not surprising considering that Mike Thompson got his start with Troy Sanders in a band called Social Infestation. They take the song out on a dark and noisy note. I had already heard "Husk" going into this so it will be interesting to see how it feels in context of the album. I remember not being to taken by the initial listen though thought it sounded better than what I had previously heard from the band. They come out of a more chaotic beginning into a solid death metal groove. The vocals work best in the lower growls, the higher rasped screams seem a little forced when meshing with the overall vibe. They return to a more straight forward grinding death metal on "Downward". You can hear some punk under lying their sound at the onset, which is not surprising considering the bulk of Atlanta metal bands started out in the punk scene. The first guitar solo isn't a shred fest but more of a melody.

The ugliness continues on "Distort, Engulf" as the band proves they are  as nasty any death metal going today. This song is more straight forward than the previous songs in it's single minded attack. They close the album with a touch of atmosphere going into "To Glimpse Godliness". These guys don't need to drone into the ten minute mark to prove their point. They storm back into the heavy with authority. When the song drops down into the slower throb it reaches it's most powerful moment. This is a vast improvement for a band who previously  failed to win me over. Gone are any allusions to black metal as they have embraced their role as harbingers of some ugly death metal. I'll round this up to an 8.5.

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