Blackened death metal outfit WITHERED are released their brand-new single ‘By Tooth In Tongue’ of their forthcoming album ‘Verloren’. The album is scheduled for world-wide release on June 25th, 2021 via Season of Mist Underground Activists. ‘By Tooth In Tongue’ can be viewed in the form of a music video via the official Season of Mist YouTube channel HERE, and is available on all digital platforms.
The album can be pre-ordered HERE.
The artwork for ‘Verloren‘ can now be viewed together with the album details below.
1. By Tooth In Tongue (8:22)
2. The Predation (6:55)
3. Dissolve (4:33)
4. Casting In Wait (5:29)
5. Passing Through… (2:37)
6. …The Long Hurt (3:55)
7. Verloren (4:29) 8. From Ashen Shores (8:21)
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. 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.
Verloren translates to “missing” from German and relates not just to the friends, family and pieces of the member’s lives and hearts that have, and will go, missing as the time ticks on unfettered, but also, in the face of the global pandemic, just how much the activity of being in a band has been missed by everyone who took the write/record/tour cycle for granted. Verloren demonstrates a topical uniqueness; one that discusses the stuff everyone from the steeliest of black metal cape wearers to the gore-obsessed death metal crushers and everyone playing in a band or not has had to – or will have to – confront at some point. By leveling the elitist playing field so often found in extreme metal underground attitudes, Verloren offers a more holistic experience, elevating WITHERED by being unafraid to discuss topics that fly in the face of what most would connect to the sounds they make.
“About two years before I started WITHERED,” Thompson recalls, “I went through a series of traumas where I was forced to take stock of and define my foundational ‘puzzle pieces’ that could be taken away and what the trauma and grief is going to look like when I lose close family and/or friends I truly care about. Ironically, one I didn’t face until recently was WITHERED. No one ever thought that not being able to play shows or tour because of a pandemic was even feasible. I processed the idea of losing WITHERED and playing music and touring and everything else around the time of Grief Relic when two guys quit the band and I lost a lot of steam and inspiration. Luckily, Beau was there to kick my ass and shake me out of it. When it comes to this album, there was an initial suffering of anxiety because of the uncertainty in the world and the fear of losing this album because we put a lot into it, are super proud of it and it is the best WITHERED album yet. It’s important for my inspiration and motivation to go forward. It takes so much effort for us to create a record, the thought of it for it to all be for naught or potentially be wasted just destroys me.
“Surprisingly, we haven’t had a lot of push back on these themes, though I would love to take on that conflict!” he laughs. “For most people, metal is purely aesthetic, a grandstanding ‘f-you!’ to society and an adolescent rebellion kind of thing. But at the same time, we do get positive feedback from the people who have looked a bit deeper and done some research. We just want to be honest. We used to make the joke when we go out on tour, especially in the early days when deathcore was all the rage and we’d be on these weird package bills, that ‘Hey, we’re WITHERED and we’re here to bum you out.’ We’re not a party band or a shock band so you don’t get the fun aspect from us when going to a show. I’ve always been frustrated that we’ve never been able to communicate our super-realism and the different perspectives of life. If I want to sing about how much gratitude I have for my mother in a roundabout way, then whatever, we’ll do it!”
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.”
Verloren also revisits WITHERED’s traditional methodological step of sitting down and looking at the present state of metal before consciously lashing out against what’s taking up most of the broader public’s attention.
“We’re constantly looking for something new to do. We love genre bending and putting D-beats next to funereal riffs next to black metal blasts and heavy doom riffs and figuring out how to make it all work and make sense with whatever vibe we’re trying to nail down. For this one, I wanted to lean back into the funereal doom world. I got burnt out when doom – especially southern doom, being a southern band – was the word of the day around the time of our first two records. We basically ran in the other direction and got away from doing any full-on doom parts for a while. I wanted to come back around to that, so we went back to bigger stuff like My Dying Bride for the couple of eight minute epics on the album [album opener “By Tooth in Tongue” and closer “From Ashen Shores”]. Also, for the first time in my life and against my better judgment, I decided to write clean vocals and I’m singing on two songs. They’re kind of buried in the mix a little bit because I’m still self-conscious about them, but they were the only things that made sense for the parts we wrote. I tried to fight it, but nothing extreme was accomplishing the goal. On top of that, we go the other way where three of the songs have some super crusty and grind elements. Part of why I asked Dan to join the band was because I knew he would get the sludgy, crusty side of things and help me cultivate that better in WITHERED. On the album, ‘The Predation,’ ‘Dissolve’ and ‘Casting in Wait’ are his. Those would be the twists on this album because we’re always trying to write what we think is missing and what we want to hear in heavy music after sitting down and looking at the landscape of what’s out there.”
And despite being deliberate oppositional in the subject matter they choose to explore and express, how much of their hearts and souls they choose to strip bare for fickle crowds and grind against whatever current musical grain the rest are cruising along, the determination, seriousness and importance of WITHERED in each member’s lives hasn’t ebbed. In fact, it’s only been magnified with time and circumstance. Having been forced into a year off from normal band life has made it clear how vital WITHERED is for everything from creative expression, social networking, wanderlust, overall personal sanity and moving forward.
“Personally, I’m very, very fortunate with regards to my family and others being supportive and taking what I do seriously. Looking back, I could be really selfish and headstrong about music. My family got so used to it that they would volunteer to schedule dinners and family events around rehearsals and practice because they were able to glean how important this was to me and how seriously I took it. Even moving out into the real world with the professional realm of things and the jobs that we have had in order to keep this going, I’d say it’s taken more seriously now than ever. We’re constantly challenging ourselves to progress and carve our own path. WITHERED is a permanent part of my life, it’s what I expect to be there. I’ve built so much on it and I’ve somehow been able to weave it into my life to where it’s a defining part of me as well. This isn’t rock star fantasy camp, although the other weekend I was bored, missing traveling and sitting around so I took the band van out and just drove out for three hours, turned around and came home!”
Beau Brandon – Drums
Dan Caycedo – Vocals, Guitars
Rafay Nabeel – Bass Guitar
Mike Thompson – Vocals, Guitar
Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man) on “Passing through…” which is a noise track done under his “Many Blessings” nomenclature using field recordings Mike Thompson made at a family funeral.