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F U L L . R E V I E W S


Company: Victory
Release: 2014
Genre: Thrash, death
Reviewer: Eric Compton

  • Makes death thrash vital

  • It is interesting and a little perplexing how far an extremity like Wretched can push for mainstream visibility. By no means is the general public ready for a Chris Barnes jingle to promote the affordability of Toyota or Pepsi, but extreme music, particularly death and hardcore, has reached abundant levels of social awareness if not acceptance. Bands like Lamb of God and Arch Enemy have made purposeful strides to open their markets significantly and those positive developments are certainly an asset for bands like Wretched.

    This North Carolina act released their fourth record to date with "Cannibal" via longtime partner Victory. This type of engineered success is the byproduct of Wretched refusing to bend a knee to create yet another derelict death metal entry. Instead the band's expeditious efforts to bridge the gap seamlessly between death and thrash is commendable and fruitful considering how proficient "Cannibal" really is.

    This album comprises a diverse selection of songs that run rampant with energy and expression and often benefit from the amorphous nature of the arrangements. Opener "Gold Above Me" is a venomous introduction that clocks in at less than a minute and a half. That short selection morphs into "Morsel" and the first inklings of thrash-based riffs. Hyper-blast rhythms and vocalist Adam Cody's scathing guttural performance elevates quicker cuts like "Calloused" and "Cranial Infestation". The 90-isms of low tuned death is prominent on "Thin Skinned" while "Salt Licked" and "Wetico" recall early traces of Deceased (notably the "Blueprints for Madness" album). While these songs are invective the band pays careful attention to melody and tempo changes to counter the assailment. The title track is a soothing instrumental over seven minutes long. The same can be said for the haunting aesthetics of "L'appel du Vide" and the album's fleeting melodic moments of "Engulfed in Lethargy".

    Forty-four years removed from those Birmingham Brits' self-title, bands like Wretched are still creating intelligent work that pushes the boundaries of what we accept and know. From Megadeth to Morbid Angel, this band hones in on the special skill set to combine death and thrash into one virtuous assembly. This is permeated with melody and bloated with energy and enthusiasm. Wretched makes death thrash vital and relevant and pushes the boundaries of mainstream acceptance through hard work and dedication. What Lamb of God did in the 00s should be the mile marker for Wretched to surpass.

    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

    All reviews for Wretched:
    Eric Compton6/12/2014

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