We missed you, too
It has been five years since Atlanta decay-dealers Withered released a new album. Before 2016’s Grief Relic, it was another six years since that album’s predecessor. Withered refer to themselves as “tortured blackened doom,” and the wait between albums has certainly been fittingly torturous. Their new album Verloren—which translates to “missing” in German—ends the dry spell with a gargantuan effort that ranks as their most dynamic release.
We welcome back a version of Withered that has shapeshifted a bit since Grief Relic. Bassist Rafay Nabeel has joined the lineup. New guitarist/vocalist Dan Caycedo was once in sludge projects Leechmilk and Sons of Tonatiuh. With new blood squirming in the band’s veins, Verloren has improved over Grief Relic’s glacial solemnity. While 2010’s Dualitis was a powerhouse record, it leaned harder into black metal stylings. Verloren retains Grief Relic’s preferred lurching rhythms without feeling static or stagnant during its nearly 45-minute runtime.
Opener “By Tooth in Tongue” nails a balance between dusky melodies and Gorgutsian discord. Blast beats still storm through “The Predation” and “Casting in Wait,” but they’re not the default tempo on this album. Withered have long been a band that promotes introspection while deserving thoughtful diagnosis, and the pensive composition of “Dissolve” reflects that. Verloren’s bruised soul emerges most noticeably in the morose title track, and in the agonized vocals of album closer “From Ashen Shores.” But the entire album emits a distinct aura of heartache and loss. Like the album’s title implies, Withered have thought a lot about what they miss from the past. Verloren’s triumphant return to form is a reminder of what we were missing during Withered’s silence as well.
Review taken from the July 2021 issue of Decibel, which is available here.