Wither – Rot and I
Released: October 22nd, 2018
David De La Hoz – Vocals
Jamie Marinos – Guitar
Liam Fowler – Guitar
Jeremy Hughes – Bass
Luke Weber – Drums
Australia isn’t really known for its musical supergroups, sure once upon a time Daniel Johns from Silverchair teamed up with DJ Paul Mac and after their project The Dissociatives we copped arguably the WORST Silverchair album of all time, but now, on the heavier side of music we’ve been exposed to arguably one of the best incarnations to hit the heavy music scene in years. Wither is a group consisting of members of Belle Haven, Dream On, Dreamer and Pridelands all of whom have experience with recording albums and working a crowd. But, when you team them up with a hotshot upcoming producer and a keen AF music fan, you get passion, aggression and one shit hot concept EP called Rot and I.
The release kicks off with ‘Freak‘ which wastes no time in setting up just how brutal this band really is. Frontman David De La Hoz screams his lungs out like he’s either killing or being killed. Its ferocious, heavy and slightly arousing. Combine that with the heavy backing sounds of the rest of the band, you’ve got the makings of a circle pit inducing belter. I wouldn’t say there are clean vocals, but there’s definitely a contrast between the heavier screams and the softer, cleans. The production from guitarist Jamie Marinos is second to none, having previously worked on releases for Alpha Wolf and Thornhill, you can tell just how precautions he is with making everything sound perfect. For a band’s debut EP, this is really, really really advanced. ‘Cast Out‘ is up next and this keeps the sheer brutality flowing with the struggle of the protagonist fighting his alter-ego (Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde style) told through the lyrics “Get the fuck out of me / Never return / Never return and don’t forget that I know your intentions are sick” and “I’m trying to hide it / I’m trying to hide you / But there’s only so much I can do”. Really well-crafted storytelling through the lyrics with a heavy soundtrack. It would be sick to see a short story/movie based upon the story of Rot and Tom and the severe viciousness surrounding the schizophrenia/split personality disorder. I’m also sensing mad Polaris vibes with this band, especially through this song and the way everything is perfectly structured.
Debut EP single ‘Marionette‘ is up next and this one is arguably the best release the band had (not including their standalone single ‘Nothing To No One‘) due to the sound production, accompanying video and the lyrical content. Tom’s loved one has left and he’s struggling massively with keeping his deadly alter-ego suppressed and just by listening to the song you can hear how in-depth and throughout the whole idea behind this brutal breakup song was. Luke Weber bashes away with a beat which combined with the guitars and bass, create a headbang inducing frenzy as you either sing or nod away while listening. The breakdown towards the climax hits in the right time as David screams the words “I can’t keep you safe” alluding to Rot murderously lashing out at “their” ex for leaving him/them. ‘White Noise‘ follows and holy fuck that opening. Once you know the story behind the words being screamed at you, you’ll understand why the song needs to be so loud, fast and theatrical. We’ve reached the pivotal moment in the story where Rot has taken over and murders Tom’s ex-loved one for stringing him along and messing with his emotions. Its at this point I fall in love with the whole idea of what Wither have created. I’m so drawn in, like a novel, waiting to hear what comes next in the story. Sadly for us, the experience is over soon after with the end track ‘Alone In The Snow‘, which begins with a slow intro full of synth that takes us up to David’s heavy screams and the rest of the band ready to take our hand and guide us through this story one last time. The clean vocals during the emotional realisations Tom has throughout are definitely needed and welcomed to accentuate just how intense the ending of this story really is.
“What are you if you kill the only thing you love? / Is this pain something I will one day get rid of? / I think I always knew that I would fuck this up / I am a failure / I don’t deserve love”
Would I go as far as saying this is a form of heavy metal poetry? Abso-fucking-lutely! Did it pay off for the guys? You betcha-fucking-arse it did. Not many bands can emerge from nowhere with an idea as technically throughout as this and nail it as well as Wither has. All the way to the end of the song tension has built up and you’re left wondering what is coming, what is happening. Without ruining it for you, I suggest tracking the EP down and listening to each song as you read the lyrics. It’ll serve as a soundtrack for a brutally heavy story about someone’s struggles with their literal inner-demons and how fucked up life can be for those unable to remain in control of their life. There are so many ways you can take this concept and give it a spin to be relatable to your own struggles in life. Just make sure you take a break and reach out to someone to have a chat, remember there’s always someone there for you when you’re at your worst.
If you or someone you know needs help with their own mental-wellbeing, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find your closest Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support Organisation on Google…
The whole experience of this release takes you on a wild journey through the eyes of a deranged madman, hellbent on revenge for the damage inflicted upon the shell in which he lives and the struggles of his other personality who is caught between the crossfire of this sadistic fuck and the crushing loss of the one he loves. I really can’t commend Wither enough for this concept album/EP idea, it has been executed with sheer professionalism and outstanding, well-planned production. I can see why they spent so much time working on this side-project because it is so close to perfection and needed to be picked apart with a fine-tooth comb before being released upon the world. Don’t sleep on this, if you like thriller stories and heavy music, you’ll kill two birds with one stone listening to this absolute banger from Australia’s latest treasure.
Wither – Rot and I tracklisting
2. Cast Out
4. White Noise
5. Alone In The Snow
Get to know the band more via our interview with frontman David De La Hoz here