This is gonna be a weird review. I'll start with that.
I am gonna just say what comes to mind as I listen to this blistering lab of metal called by Withered. okay?
nice dirty guitars. wailing away as the bass trudges along underneath. demonic blackened vocals. I really like that underlying bass line. very jam like. OOOOH! full-throat growls. me likey! (track 3 Dichotomy of Exile).
Track 4 - Gnosis Unveils starts off with a kinda Baroness type feel. nice intro. again with the jammy bass kinda doing it's own thing. That would be Mike Longoria. Did you know that Mike Thompson (guitar, vocals) was in Social Infestation with Troy Sanders from Mastodon? There are moments here that remind me of Mastodon come to think of it. Alot of the bands from the Atlanta area have a "feel". Like Withered, Baroness, Mastodom, Black Tusk...... Like Seattle in the grunge era. Except this is way more awesome. This track is sort of all over the place but it's tighter than most bands who do that. It's very deliberate and good song writing rather than "let's go crazy!!!"
Withered is rounded out by Chris Freeman on guitar and vocals and Beau Brandon on drums.
Purification of Innocence is a killer track. Smack you in the face at the start, growls, fast very black metal, then it slows down into an epic sounding midsection then picks right back up again around the 3 minute mark. Does it ever pick up! mid-tempo sludgy part, banging my head at the computer. dual layered vocal slower part, then BAM with the speed again to finish it off and lead right into Drawn Black Drapes. Nice transition.
This would be very fun to scream along to if I could make out the words. Probably the fastest track of the album so far. Paul Romano did the wicked cover art.
Revealing the Essence of Suffering sounds really cool. I like the pace. gallopy. Until it slows down. haha they do that alot. but very very well. What I really love about this is how the bass doesn't just follow along with whatever the guitars are doing. (ie. Metallica) and there is no way these guys follow any kind of verse-chorus-verse structure. Like now its strummed guitar (whole notes) over a nice noodly bass line and then the rocket boosters kick in again and it's off to the races. That feels like at least 4 times changes in one song. They have really found a way to meld many styles together. They've been described (even on their own website) as Tortured Blackened Doom and that really sounds pretty accurate.
Clamour Breath has some different vocals in it. Cleaner. more punk/hardcore. It works. According to Encyclopaedia Metallum, Chris Freeman was in Social Infestation too (still is, those 3 are the band). Check out the Mastodon DVD The Workhorse Chronicles for some slips of Social Infestation. s'good stuff.
the last track is a cover of Necrophobic's Into Armageddon. Kinda makes me want to check out Necrophobic.
So basically, Withered take the straight ahead speed and tone of black metal, with all it's bleakness and blastbeats and meld it with southern sludge and blow your fuckin mind.
It's a wonder I haven't listened to this more this year. It should make my Top 40. 2006 was Mastodon at #1, 2007 was Baroness. I don't think Folie Circulaire will top my 2008 list but it has represented Atlanta very well.
I could do this same thing for Abysmal Dawn's Programmed to Consume (one of the best death metal albums of '08) but have like everyday stuff to take care of. I'll be back.