Wound
Engrained

Germany’s Wound released a pretty kick ass debut album in 2013, Inhale the Void.  I was and still am a huge fan of the album.  Massive production with excellent chunky guitars and a sound borrowing a little from the Swedish scene and a few nods to Autopsy and At the Gates.  A really killer death metal album.  I was looking so forward to Wound’s sophomore album, Engrained, I was practically counting the days to the release date.  I think I still am, because what on earth happened to this once promising band???

Now I am a huge fan of Rico’s label, F.D.A. Records and he put out Wound’s debut, but I guess every now and again a label will get a clunker or two.  Wound have opted for a very stripped down and raw album, which brings in an abundance of black metal influences.  While still death metal, the black metal influences overtake the death metal, quite a bit, from the vocals to the stripped production.  This folks, is not the Wound, you will remember.  I will get to the production towards the end and I am going to be brutal, but I have some helpful recommendations for Wound.  Now I can get past raw productions if the music is kicking me in the teeth.  But much of Engrained is just not very well written and the riffs are weak, with the band adding in more melody and this is an entirely different band.

“I Am Havoc” is pretty much a black metal tune, with screeching vocals and screams and the guitar tone is ultra-thin.  Some cool guitar solos in the tune, but again the production is not doing this any justice.  “The Gateway to Madness”, has interesting opening moment with some cool bass guitar parts and then a decent growl comes in a few times.  The song goes from doom/death, to a faster speed, with the black metal vocals again.  “Morbid Paradigm” is melo-death sounding.  Mid-paced, slower and kind of just slap-dashed together.  Some of the classic metal moments are pretty cool, I’ll give them that.  The title track is over 12 minutes and is a bore, especially the horrible drum fade out, uggghh, it’s rather ugly.

Simply put the production on Engrained is downright atrocious and really weak.  The production sounds more like a demo rehearsal, recorded from a boom box, 30 years ago.  With today’s technology, as well as the killer sound, on Wound’s debut, this production is unforgivable.  I can understand and respect if a band wants to change their style and go in a new direction.  Hell Dark Throne did it with Soulside Journey, a pure death metal album and then going to pure black metal with A Blaze in the Northern Sky.  The difference is Dark Throne embraced their newfound direction 100%, put out a classic album, which had a monstrous production.  Engrained is not sure WTF it wants to be.  Part death metal, large part black metal with melodic and atmospheric parts.

There are certainly some decent ideas floating around on this release, but the production sucks so bad, the good ideas are erased.  The guitar tone is weak as shit.  Flat, tough to make out any riffs, no bass in the guitar, and it’s not heavy at all. There is absolutely no punch to the guitar tone.  It’s kind of just there, and at times quite annoying that it’s not punching me in the face.  Bass guitar is ok, nothing special and the drums are a mess.  Loud snare that sounds like it was recorded in some cellar.  This is a very lo-fi recording and really I have no other word, than weak.  Unfortunately, since this album is such a mess, it’s not going to help Wound out at all and dammit they can do better.  I have 3 helpful suggestions.  The first would be to tell Rico, we need to remix and remaster this mess of an album.  It could help but the songs are still a bit of a mess.  Option 2 is Wound could opt to re-record the album, which could definitely help the sound.  The other option is within this next year, to put out a punishing new ep, to remind us fans, Wound, had a misstep and can do better.  This is a disappointing release for 2017.

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 17th, 2017

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