Formed by The Ocean’s former tub-thumper, Jan Oberg, and having previously featured the same band’s Robin Staps on second guitar, it’s tempting to reach for comparisons between the two groups, especially with Withered’s predecessor, 2012’s Iron Chest, which saw the Berlin-based quartet position themselves as a sort of thinking man’s Crowbar.
Ex-The Ocean voyager steadies his course and heads for the heavy
But times have changed; Robin has departed and Earthship’s third LP finds them simultaneously expanding and contracting on that perhaps somewhat unfair assignation. While the sheer brutality that likens them to one of NOLA’s finest still looms large in the likes of opener Sanguine and the nightmarish yet neck-snapping groove of Lament Of Torment, whereas previous LPs have veered off on early Baroness-like dalliances and even Moog-augmented meanders, Withered keeps the dial tuned to ‘skull-crushing heaviosity’. Meanwhile, tracks like Throne Of Bones see Earthship invite melody and clean singing into the room, only to mercilessly beat them into the corner.