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From its inception, WITHERED has been an outlier, a perplexing charge of extremity which the metal scene has never been able to put its finger on. “We want to compound new elements into every album,” posits guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson, “and we’re definitely a band for metal nerds. Our audience seems to be the old-schoolers who are absorbed by this stuff every day and jaded folks of a certain age. Industry types and peers tend to get it, but that’s about it.” Thompson’s self deprecating assessment of his creative output might be part gentlemanly humility talking or a harshly realistic take on WITHERED’s cult status, or somewhere in between, but with an impressive body of work fanned out over the course of 18 years and five albums which have weathered as many trends, the Atlanta quartet continues to confound and refuses to compromise. New album, Verloren is the band’s most daring and iconoclastic work yet, one that spits in the eye of complacency and exists as a contrarian masterstroke.
“We take ourselves very seriously as far as the music and lyrics go, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously as humans who are in a band.” That’s bassist/vocalist Kayhan Vaziri talking about his band, Yautja. Taking their name from the alien species in the Predator franchise, he and his bandmates—guitarist Shibby Poole and drummer Tyler Coburn (also of Thou and Mutilation Rites)—combine grind, punk and hardcore into a ferocious hybrid that has propelled them from the obscurity of the American South onto the international stage. “I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and the other two guys are in Nashville, Tennessee, both of are which are pretty close to the bottom of the list when it comes to cities that you associate with metal or heavy music in general,” Vaziri observes. “Nashville is huge for country and pop—commercial music, basically—but not what we do.” What they do can be heard on the trio’s long-awaited second album, The Lurch. From the relentless opening roar of “A Killing Joke” and the ominous noise waves of “Undesirables” to the churning cannonade of “Before the Foal,” the record conveys the personal frustrations and sociopolitical observations of its creators.
Psychedelic Heavy Metal from Atlanta