Written by Alex Alicia Media
For Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine
Now third album in, Earthship are back with their best and most melodic album yet. ‘Withered’ is what some fan might describe as a matured ten track studio piece of genius. In some ways, yes, I would then happily agree due to their tight component musicianship and brilliant production of an album featuring songs with their own take on contemporary metal, sludge and stoner rock. However it would help if I could understand the lyric and interpret it on every song. Starting the album off is ‘Sanguine’ with an excellent instrumental but then the vocals come in and it’s difficult to understand. If intentionally done it certainly gives the listener an exciting and mysterious vibe but if lyrics have been written then surely they need to be heard, right?
Even though it’s no first choice of mine it’s difficult to ignore the powerful wrath sounding vocals of Jan Oberg and the somewhat time-honoured death metal sound this album has. My attention was quickly turned to ‘Throne of Bones’ and ‘Dead Faint’ which appear to be the tracks of the more softer and melodic arrangement setting this album apart from their two previous ‘Exit Eden’ and ‘Iron Chest’. The latter track has a very apparent influence from the Ozzy era of Sabbath. Similar guitar progression and especially similar sounding vocals, Ozzy may as well have just been on the track. With this being said, the song still fulfills its purpose of keeping the listener hooked. It is clear this album has been given a huge production and 100 per cent thought. I’d say it has paid off and the entire band should be happy with the outcome. If you’re a fan of the cultural mid 1980s traditional sludge metal and follow bands such as Crowbar, Down, Eyehategod or Iron Monkey then the technically brilliant ‘Withered’ is an album worth having.