If it's not something in the water then it must be something in the acid that Georgians are dropping these days. Hailing from the same progressive metal hotbed as Mastodon, Baroness and Kylesa; Withered tread close alongside the footsteps of their fellow Georgian natives, yet routinely veer off in a different direction. That direction being traditional death metal, or at the least bursts of it, which routinely bubble to the surface through this bands oft-thick as tar approach.
With a penchant for instrumental passages, wrenched vocals become more of a climactic accentuation as the band admirably opt for space over standardized songwriting. Of course this leaves room for heaps of progressive experimentation and if Mastodon donned black metal garb, "Folie Circulaire" would probably be the outcome. But that's not a stab at the band by any means, as their style is both instrumentally and emotionally experimental enough to respectfully merit such a comparison.
Basically, by utilizing enough focus to actually solidify their chaotic meanderings into a stable foundation; the band are able to create a multitude of tracks where searing death metal intensity fights off the rhythmic undercurrents of sludgy prog metal. It's an interesting dynamic and one this outfit seem well aware of as they exploit it to great effect, constantly shifting back and forth. Sure there's a Necrophobic cover tacked onto the end of the album and a cameo from Napalm Death's Mark "Barney" Greenway included for cred. But these are all greatly overshadowed by the rest of this efforts dark, serpentine experimentalism and intoxicatingly oppressive atmosphere, and believe me, that's a good thing.
(4 / 5)