Mixing the early 90's death metal sounds of bands like Entombed and Unleashed with the newer doom/extreme fury of Mastodon and High on Fire, Withered have made a statement with their latest release on Lifeforce Records called Memento Mori. Sea of Tranquility's Murat Batmaz caught up with guitarist/vocalist Mike Thompson to discuss the band and the new album.
Read on for the complete details!
SoT: Hi Mike, congratulations on your debut album. Could you talk a little about Withered for those who are unfamiliar with your band?
Mike Thompson: Well, Withered is a blackened/death/grind/sludge band from Atlanta, GA. We are made up of members of Social Infestation, ex member of Leechmilk,
and ex-member of Puaka Balava. We like to mix a number of different extreme
metal styles to make up our sound. We touch on everything from sludge to
crust to grind to old norwegian black metal to early swedish death to modern doom metal.
SoT: When was the band formed and did you release any other albums before Memento Mori?
Mike: We formed in mid-2003 when Social Infestation (Chris and My grind/crust band) slowed down quite a bit. Our bassist became very busy with his other band so we decided to start withered. No, we don't have any other albums besides the latest release on Lifeforce. We made a 3 song demo in 2004 but those 3 songs are on the album as well.
SoT: Memento Mori struck me as one of the best Lifeforce Releases of the year. You guys play strictly old school death metal in the vein of early-90's Swedish bands? Were you influenced by any of them?
Mike: Thanks!! I don't think we play strictly old school swedish death. I am
heavily influenced by early Entombed and Grave albums but we have drawn
a lot of incluence from bands like Immortal, Weakling, and Neurosis to name a few.
SoT: At the same time I feel a more modern edge is prevalant on your album. I had to think of Mastodon several times. Even your artwork evokes images of
their work. Are some of your sludgy walls of guitar riffs inspired by them?
The new album...Memento Mori
Mike: Well, I wouldn't say that we're necessarily inspired by Mastodon but I
know that we likely share some of the same influences as Mastodon. We
are old friends with Mastodon and have been playing music side by side with
them for many years. I think that a lot of those influences come from earlier music like Neurosis and The Melvins for example and also from Greg's history with his old band Leechmilk. They were super sludgy and that bleeds over into some of what we do.
SoT: Being a death metal band, what are the best death metal releases of the year so far?
Mike: Hmm... You know, that's tough for me to say. Most of the death metal
I listen to is old. Some of the newer music I enjoy would be things
Like High On Fire, all Pig Destroyer, RWAKE, and 1349. I'm behind on cutting edge death metal but am trying hard to catch up!!! If anyone wants to send me some cool CDs, that would rule!!
SoT: Are there any tours in the plans? If you could, what bands would you prefer to tour with?
Withered On Stage
Mike: Yep, we hope to tour as much as we can for the next year. We hope to
share the stage with Mastodon because there's nothing better than hanging
out with friends. I'd also love to play with Napalm Death, Behemoth,
Gorgoroth, High On Fire, and about 50 other awesome bands!!
SoT: What's the easiest way to check out your band, hear samples, and order Memento Mori?
Mike: You can go to http://www.withered.net or http://www.myspace.com/withered.
You can order the album from our site or from http://www.lifeforcerecords.com. You should also be able to pick it up in some stores or order it from any record store.
SoT: Sounds great! Thanks a lot!
Mike: Thanks for the interview. We definitely appreciate the support.
(Click here to read our reviews of Memento Mori)