Strangle Wire  
Shaped by Human Frailty

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the oversexed, fast car, jumbo jet, yacht party lifestyle of a playboy heavy metal reviewer and get back to basics. You know, get back to the reason why you have an aircraft carrier full of Ferraris in the first place, check out some underground promos, and find something excellent. In this case, that excellence is the debut slab from The UK’s Strangle Wire.

This is the kind of well-executed, no frills, pedal to the floor death metal that sometimes, despite its simplicity, really hits the spot and you don’t have to wait long to find out. From the 3-minute opener “Heavily Medicated” and its jackhammering riffs to its dry, Sven de Caluwe-esque vocals, you know what’s on offer. You’d be a damned fool not to “subscribe” as the kids say.

They do slow it down a little bit and groove on the follow up track, “Learned Wretchedness,” but that’s all relative. It never ceases to amaze me how heavy bands are able to incorporate song titles like this into the hooks, but they do it very well here, making for an early standout…

However, this is an album full of standouts! It would be easy to pick nearly every song and mention its excellence. The first half is an absolute banger. It doesn’t slack off in the second half, either. Perhaps that’s because of the short running time, but I’d recommend turning your attention to the title track, “Shaped by Human Frailty,” which is at #6. It has one of the longer solo sections and takes all the way to three and a half minutes in for the main hook to arrive. That’s risky considering that’s well over halfway into the track, but it pays off.

I mentioned the first half is a banger, but so is the second. Is that enough of a review for you? “Psychology of the Sick” has one of the chunkiest riffs on the album, whereas the closing track has what one could call the longest lead in or intro of any, but that’s still not very long at under a minute. The instrumental sections are very brief reprieves from the onslaught, but effective at regulating the pace. Of course, one of the cleaner sections ends the album.

I went back and forth with my review of this, but only briefly. At first I enjoyed it, then I merely went to thinking it was okay, but nothing memorable. However, after subsequent listens, the hooks became embedded and I was all the way in. What Strangle Wire have crafted is a hell of a fun death metal album, which hopefully lays the foundation for a lengthy, stellar career filled with more excellent albums.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 12th, 2022

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