Jun 082021

(Andy Synn turns his attention to the upcoming new album from some long-time favourites of ours, Withered, with a warning to – as always – expect the unexpected)

As some of you may know, I have a long and storied history with Blackened Death Sludge deviants Withered.

The band were the focus of the 65th edition of The Synn Report, and their fourth album, Grief Relic, was – in my opinion – one of the best albums of 2016. They were also one of the first groups to participate in my ongoing Waxing Lyrical column (which I’ll be restarting very soon), as well as one of the last bands I saw live before the whole world shut down and all shows were cancelled.

It’s always frustrated me, however, that the group’s tremendous talent has never translated into the level of attention and acclaim which they so clearly deserve… although, if I’m being honest, this may be because the band themselves seem to take an almost perverse delight in not doing what people expect and always, always, taking the grimmer, grimier path less travelled instead.

But while Verloren most definitely continues this tradition – it’s a complex, contorted, cantankerous beast of an album, make no mistake – it also has the unusual distinction of being potentially, not to mention paradoxically, the band’s most accessible and most alienating work yet.

Continue reading »

May 042021


Withered‘s Verloren, which is now set for release in June by Season of Mist Underground Activists, is one of the albums we named earlier in the year as among our most anticipated 2021 releases. It follows 2016’s Grief Relic (reviewed here), which we hailed as one of the best albums of that year. And that frighteningly superb album in turn followed three previous full-lengths collectively reviewed here in a report that attempted to sum up their sound as “blending the raving savagery of Black Metal, with the wrenching heaviness of Death Metal, and the slime-drenched grooves of Sludge, each one bathed in a scalding miasma of acid-rain atmospherics and bleak, bitter misanthropy.”

In a nutshell, we are big fans.

But the eager anticipation we have felt for Verloren isn’t simply a function of how phenomenal Withered‘s track record has been over a career that’s now entering a third decade. It’s also a matter of intrigue, because Withered have most definitely followed the beat of their own contrarian drummer, and the beat changes, in thought-provoking and sometimes confounding ways, while the constantly genre-bending music nevertheless continues to hit home with tremendous visceral and emotional power. Continue reading »

Apr 102021


I made the choices for this large round-up after a long listening session on Wednesday, with the idea of writing it up and posting it the next day. But we had so many other things to post that day and Friday that I deferred. Of course, in the meantime a lot of other worthy new songs and videos surfaced, but I decided to just stick with these selections rather than go back to the drawing board, which would have taxed my already over-taxed brain.

I couldn’t really figure out a good way to organize these songs, though I think I picked most of them because they have a through-line of being unsettling and mind-bending, albeit in different ways. I did include a bit of a curveball at the end.

INFERNO (Czechia)

As I wrote here only a week ago, I was blown away by the first advance track from Inferno’s new album, Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity), which will be released by Debemur Morti Productions on May 7th. Given the prodigious power of this band’s previous output (which now encompasses a quarter-century of releases), I can’t say I was surprised, but I was still bowled over. And now it has happened again. Continue reading »

Jan 182021



(As the title suggests, Andy Synn prepared the following list of some of the albums (though certainly not all of them) he’s eagerly awaiting in the coming year.)

Well, it happened, it’s now the third week of January and I’ve already fallen behind when it comes to reviewing new albums.

Honestly, I can think of at least five records from the last week or two that I really want to write about and that a big proportion of our readers would probably get a real kick out of… but instead of doing that I’m going to publish a list of some of my most anticipated new releases of the year still to come… because logical consistency and common sense were never my strong points.

Now, as it so happens the final version of the article you’re reading is slightly different from the first draft, as I managed to get a hold of new albums from Stortregn, Autarkh, and Suffering Hour while I was writing it, and since I’m definitely going to be writing about each of them in full at some point soon I decided to switch them out for three other selections instead.

Obviously this list is in no way comprehensive. There’s a lot more than ten artists/albums I’m really looking forward to hearing over the next twelve months But I’ve tried to purposefully avoid many of the bigger names in order to focus in on a bunch of bands who I personally love but whom many of our readers may not have been aware were going to be bringing something out this year. Continue reading »

Jan 242020


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the performances by Cannabis Corpse, Withered, and Violated Flesh in Birmingham, England, on January 22, 2020, with video highlights.)

One of my resolutions for this year has been to go to more gigs. In fact I’ve already got several booked in for February and March, and another one to attend next week.

Sadly, however, the twin constraints of money and time mean I can’t go to every single show I’d like to, which is why I was forced to miss the Darkest Hour/Fallujah show in Manchester this week.

Thankfully, however, I’d already made firm plans to hit the Birmingham date of the Cannabis Corpse/Withered tour, which definitely helped ease the pain somewhat, especially since this would be my first time seeing Withered since way back in 2005! Continue reading »

Mar 242018

Withered 2018 – photo by David Parham


(In this week’s edition of Waxing Lyrical, Andy Synn elicits thoughts about lyrics from Withered guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson.)


If you don’t know the name Withered by now, stop what you’re doing and go listen to their latest oppressive opus Grief Relic (which I hailed as one of the best albums of 2016) right now.

Then, if you want to delve further back into the band’s discography, go check out Memento Mori, Folie Circulaire, and Dualitas, which I have fortuitously collected together for you here.

Now, despite being busy prepping for the band’s upcoming tour with Canadian grindmeisters Wake (which, by this point, will actually have begun), I was lucky enough to grab some time with the band’s long-serving guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson and bully him into answering some questions for the latest edition of Waxing Lyrical. Continue reading »

Jan 222017


I have a large and broad array of music in this Sunday’s Shades of Black collection. In some instances I’ve stepped outside the usual boundaries of this series, mainly because I didn’t want to wait for an arguably more appropriate way to feature the music. Hopefully, this playlist will prove interesting to you, even if you came hear expecting nothing but black metal.


Earlier today we premiered a song from a band on the Naturmacht label, and the first music in this collection also comes from Naturmacht. It’s a complete album released on January 8 called Lopun Alku, by the Finnish project Author. The photo that comes next shows a full live band, but on the album one man (J.V.) did almost everything — vocals, lyrics, guitars, bass, keyboards, all music — with session drums performed by J.W. Continue reading »

Dec 152016



(Andy Synn’s week-long series of year-end lists continues with his personal list of The Critical Top Ten for 2016. Click these links to see his lists of the year’s Great Albums, the Good Albums, and the Disappointments.)

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I always wind-up my week-long retrospective with two lists, the “Critical Top Ten” and the “Personal Top Ten”.

Now the second one is probably pretty self-explanatory, in that it’s just a list of the ten albums I’ve loved, lived with, and listened to the most this year. It’s really just a snapshot of my personal listening habits/tastes over the last twelve months.

The idea behind this one possible needs some explaining though.

You see the “Critical Top Ten” is where I try (as best I can) to remove my own personal biases and downplay any favouritism and instead attempt to name the ten albums (unranked) which I feel honestly represent the best of the best from the last year in Metal. Continue reading »

May 202016



(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Withered.)

Make no mistake, despite the almost six-year gap between albums, and a significant line-up shift in the intervening years — with Primitive Man’s Ethan McCarthy and renowned uber-bassist Colin Marston stepping in to replace the departed Mike Longoria and Dylan Kilgore – Atlantean (shut up, that’s the right word) filth-mongers Withered are back with a vengeance… even though I’ll admit Grief Relic didn’t quite “click” with me the first time around. Continue reading »

Apr 132016



It has been a long wait for a new release by Atlanta’s Withered, and so for ardent fans of the band like those of us at this site, it was exciting to learn last fall that a new full-length (eventually named named Grief Relic) was finally on the way. At about the time of that revelation, Andy Synn prepared a report that included reviews of all the band’s releases up to that point, and we began waiting to find out whether the passage of years had diminished or enhanced the band’s powers.

We all got our first clues last month when a song called “Husk” premiered at DECIBEL (here) and another called “Feeble Gasp” was unveiled by Revolver (here). Those songs provided convincing proof that the more than five years since Dualitas have not dulled these blades. Time seems only to have honed them, sharpening the music’s cutting power and amplifying its almost physically tangible impact. But we have still more proof that Grief Relic has been worth the wait, because today we bring you the premiere of yet another new song, this one appropriately named “Distort, Engulf“. Continue reading »