“Grief Relic”

By Dr. Abner Maity

Never thought I would be hearing from these guys again! It’s been 6 long years since the last Withered CD and since that time, they just simply…well, withered. But now they come roaring back with “Grief Relic”.

The extreme metal scene has changed a lot in just six years. Today there are a lot of bands mining the vein that Withered tapped into…roaring, oppressive death metal chaos that sounds like it was recorded in Carlsbad Caverns. I hear those type of bands all the time now. Do Withered still stand out? Do they still even play the same style of metal?

Have no fear on that score. Listening to “Grief Relic” kind of resembles being in the middle of a brick tornado. You get battered and bludgeoned from every angle with monolithic sludgy guitar riffs and those beastly inarticulate roars. People go apeshit over Portal and the like, but the roots of that style can be found in Withered. “Leathery Rind” is an all-out sonic assault that solidifies into some chunky semi-doom riffs.  “Realm of Suffering” is as brutal as it gets while “Withdraw” is plodding crush. This kind of death metal can wear you out and weigh on the soul, but they know how to pace things to keep it from getting too monotonous.

“Feeble Grasp” is a good example of how these guys mix things up with off the wall, catchy yet skull-obliterating riffs. The change in tempo half way through the song is awesome! Mike Thompson’s grumbly roars do get kind of wearisome by the end of the album, but the last song “To Glimpse Godliness” is so epic that you feel like you’re carried away on a tidal wave of sludge.

Pretty good comeback for Withered, picking up essentially where they left off and demonstrating why they were so promising in the first place.