It’s easy to forget that when Withered released their first full-length, Memento Mori, in 2005 and the equally inspired Folie Circulaire in 2008, there wasn’t the same level of subgenre cross-pollination in underground metal as there is now.
Withered were ahead of the curve in that respect, and while they’ve rightly garnered some critical acclaim, they haven’t received full credit for having the boundary-blitzing vision and ability to successfully smash together crust punk, grindcore, death metal, sludge and black metal.
What’s also commendable is that their mongrel music has remained stylistically consistent and of the same high quality despite never having the same lineup for two successive releases. Fourth album Grief Relic continues the cycle, as the Georgian extremists introduce Primitive Man’s Ethan McCarthy (guitars/vocals) and the multi-talented Colin Marston (bass). Not surprising given the pedigree of these two musicians, Grief Relic is easily the most intimidating, destructive and technically accomplished Withered album yet. The eight songs swarm in several directions while retaining palpable intensity, resulting in a total sensory bombardment.