Withered – Folie Circulaire
By Barbara Fara
Chris Freeman - Guitars/Vocals
Mike Thompson - Guitars/Vocals
Mike Longoria - Bass
Beau Brandon - Drums/Percussion
The founding fathers of Withered, Chris Freeman and Mike Thompson, originally created the band in 2003. They recorded a 5 song demo EP that gathered accolades and quite a bit of buzz in the death metal world. Between their last album called Momento Mori and their newest release, they replaced original drummer Wes Kever for Atlanta’s almighty Beau Brandon. They also replaced their bassist Greg Hess for Mike Longoria. The current lineup is listed above. I do not believe the last two members had anything to do with this current release. Withered has now been together for 5 years and I have heard them play and sing live and they are very darkly creative guys. It makes you think you are listening to Danzig but with Christ Barnes singing lead. They are truly one of Atlanta’s original doom metal bands, and just because I am friends with them don’t think it means I am going to give them a kick ass review - it will be an honest review. They recently did a signing at Criminal Records that I had to miss due to a personal emergency, but I bet the line went down the street. Now kiddies, when you hear that a band you love is going to be doing a signing, CAMP OUT so you can be first in line. So my little minions, let’s listen.
Like I said earlier, this album really makes you feel like you are deep within a combination of a Danzig show mixed with a Type O Negative show with lyrics by Chris Barnes. Most people would call this black metal, I would define this as doom metal with a twist of the occult in there as well. There are two instrumentals on this album that transition into other songs; the first one is To Embrace which leads into The Fated Breath and then The Forsaken Truth which runs into Purification of Ignorance. The album itself is hardcore; you cannot beat the hyper intense guitars by Mike Thompson. This is music as hard as it comes. The band itself I give the utmost respect to. Into the Armageddon was written by Necrophobic with music by Halfdan, Ransted and Sidgard. Then the band has guest vocals on Fated Breath and Clamor Beneath by Barney Greenway. Guest vocals on this album were recorded at Robanna’s and engineered by Paul Gray. The album itself is not a bad piece of work at all, but when you have a powerful team of musicians such as Chris, Mike and Beau - Mike Thompson really has to try to outrange them. When they recorded it, they should have made the vocals much more pronounced so that they were not overshadowed by the music. The band has to realize something: they are on the rock and roll highway and they are going to make it big. When they record their next album, they have to remember that the vocals must stand out. I don’t know if this is the engineer’s mix up or what, but the same thing was evident with the guest vocals from Barney Greenway. When we look at Into The Armageddon, again, same thing. Something has to be changed where someone realizes that they have to really work with the vocal range for their singers. Now, if it was me, I would still buy the album, it’s worth it. And like I said, the problem is the vocalization - and I have reviewed too many doom metal bands to count - and the vocals always come through very clearly. I don’t blame the band for this. I would like to see Withered live to see if their vocals stand out more than they do on this album. It would be interesting to see if it can be pulled off. This is the band’s sophomore album, and for a second album, it is not bad at all. My suggestion, honestly, I would have the band record the tracks, put mike in a separate booth and see the difference. If the engineer can up the vocals on Mike, not to drown out the band, but to bring out his vocals, the album would have been much stronger. Here is another band that did not make Mayhem or Projekt Revolution. They have been around for five years and they have created a master death metal piece of work; even Ozzfest should be clamoring to get this band on their list to be honest with you. Now, my minions, if you are wondering why I did not do this review track by track, I hope this just explained it.
I would not tell you to not buy this cd or not to go see them, you absolutely should - they need all the support from their fans they can get. Even though I rate this cd at 95% worth buying, if the vocals would be clearer, I would give it 110% I want to know when they are touring and with who. They are up there with the best death growlers out today. Kreator and Six Feet Under and Arch Enemy, Straight Line Stitch; all these bands should all get together and go on the road for a metal monster tour. It could be sponsored by Jager, Jack Daniels, or Jim Beam. This band should be respected for doing the best they can do: I have not heard any of their early work, I am not going to lie to you, but if their early work is this good, they should not be in little clubs but out on the road with major players. They are dark, melodic death metal. They are not doom metal, they are dark metal; big difference in my book. They worked hard to release a 10 track cd on Prosthetic Records and created a masterpiece; my problem is if they do record again with Prosthetic, and I hope their engineer is reading this, let the vocals come through. If Withered comes around near you, Atlanta, Marietta, Douglasville, Alpharetta etc - they are worth seeing and listening to and they are also a nice bunch of guys to meet after a show. They are just great southern boys with a talent for metal. And I give them a good 95% for this album. If you are a fan, support them any way you can, check their websites listed above and sign up for their forum and email list; write them and ask them if they need any help to start a street team. Make sure that the word gets out that Atlanta has their own death metal band with the death growls of Mike Thompson and back up sounds from the rest of the band. They, quite simply, kick ass. If you like death metal, you will love this album. You can find and purchase the new CD on their site and go home and listen to Withered and see what a magnificent band they are. They should be proud of the work they have created and Prosthetic should be proud that this album will be a hit. They next step is to get them on a major tour. Musicincider wishes the band luck and love and will be doing an interview with Withered in an upcoming issue. Till we speak again, have a bitchin’ day.