Released: 2003, Olympic Recordings
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
There is no mistaking New York’s Withered Earth for anything but death metal, plain and simple. If in any case you were confused by this fact, then OF WHICH THEY BLEED, the band’s third full-length album throws down the gauntlet from the first ten seconds of the album onwards. Drawing their influences straight from the likes of Morbid Angel and Malevolent Creation and thrashing it up here and there with some thrashy Slayer-esque bits. Aye, that works for me.
The twelve tracks on this album build their sound heavily on the thick, heavy, pummel/chug style riffs laid down by guitarists Chris Burgio and Mark Locurcio, though the axemen maintain some variation through numerous and unexpected time changes (Look to “Calculated to Create Terror” as a fine example). I like the fact that the guitars are mixed frontwards in the sound, neither too high nor too low. Also, drummer Brian Spade (new to the band in 2001), performs with frenzied energy, though without whelming the songs with cliche rolls and blasts. In addition to this fluid death metal, Withered Earth also bring some thrash influences to the party on such tracks as “Only Weakness is Inhuman,” and the Slayer-ish title track. My favourite track on the album is the six and a half minute “Worlds Without End,” which contains riffs that give more than a passing nod to vintage Kreator. Also of note is another great tune, “Ruins”; an interesting blend of sludge, prog, death, and late-80s/early 90s thrash metal.
The rest of the album carries on in the same vein as the standout tracks mentioned above and does not lighten up or deviate from their sound. Withered Earth’s strength in sticking with the safe, established path of traditional death metal is also their biggest weakness. Unfortunately, there is not enough room left over for Withered Earth to develop a strong sense of individuality, nor does it allow for much variation among the songs. Still, for those seeking a good listen of straightforward death metal that does not resort to a single riff/tempo buried amidst a blasting flurry of monotony, Withered Earth should provide enough entertainment for your dollar.