Wrath of the Weak

Repetition is the name of the game for Buffalo, NY’s Wrath of the Weak and their second album of bleak, dystopian and clinical one band basement black metal that’s as interesting as its cover art. 

Sole member ‘J’, while certainly having a grasp of the requisite atonality, atmospheres and tenets of the genre, simply does not have the ability to come up with anything creative to do with it, especially in the riff department, where generally the same riff is delivered over and over for each song. And if that is arguably the aim of this record-gunning for that bore into your skull, droning sound-if that’s the case then it succeeds. Now, don’t get me wrong this isn’t I Shalt Become of Fear of Eternity bad, as it is has a far more real presence and variety of paces, but when compared to the like of Leviathan, Brown Jenkins or even labelmates The Howling Moon, (who I didn’t particularly care for) and closest comparison, Thralldom, Wrath of the Weak is flailing a dead horse for its lengthy and grating duration.

On the positive side, the guitar tone is an almost robotic, industrial tone that renders the atmosphere of the album as lifeless and dread inducing and the rare vocals are a disconnected, other worldly robotic warble that’s a welcome changed from the pained, strangled cat tones of J’s peers. It’s just a shame it never comes all together to form something more memorable or impactful. Other than maybe “Chapter II: Using Self-Destrution In The Pursuit Of A Better Life”, the riffs generally make Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal look like Beethoven, just without that primal caustic delivery. Even though the tempo of the songs might change a couple of times within a song, it’s still just shifts from repetitive and fast to repetitive and slow (i.e. “Chapter I: A Leap Of Faith Ends When You Crash Into The Ground”, “Chapter V: Angels With Forked Tongues And The Gifts They Bear” and “Chapter VI: Light Streaming In Through The Cracks In The Door”), and as you can see dressing up the sound in a chapter based concept does little to deter that fact.

21 minute closer “Epilogue -The Journey Towards non-Existence in Slow Motion and Technicolor” is a purely atmospheric, needlessly long number with little impact or closure to an album that already lacks impact other than the guitar tone. However, I’m sure the die hard, basement black metal purists will be all over this and view it as a caustic and groundbreaking anti black metal under ground statement-me?


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 27th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Paul

    What do you mean “I Shalt Become” bad??

    For the genre, they are a fantastic band. Creates great atmosphere, very trance-inducing and relaxing yet heavy. Certainly not atonal as there is a lot of melody and, dare I say it, groove in what they do.

    Sounds to me like you need a reviewer for the one-man, bipolar-disorder-on-a-downward-cycle, USBM bands, who actually likes the genre beyond just the standouts like Leviathan, Xasthur, Crebain etc.

    I volunteer! Do I get free CDs of creepy, depressing one man BM bands?

    Does it matter if I had my wife and daughter headbanging in our station wagon listening to Make A Change … Kill Yourself last week driving back from White Spot?

  2. Commented by: vugelnox

    a shame that is such a weak album because Profound Lore is otherwise a solid and dependable label. I’ll take the Cobalt and Howling Wind albums over this.

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Sorry-i Shalt Become’s recent reissue (Wanderings) was pretty weak as is their new effort (Requiem)-of course-just my opinion-im sure other black metal fans like Grimulfr like them more (tahts why he has Requiem for review)

  4. Commented by: swampthang

    this guys from my area yet i never even heard of him

  5. Commented by: Chris

    For once, I have to entirely disagree with you on this one Erik. This is an amazing, hypnotic example of the Velvet Cacoon style of BM. Granted, this functions far better as an ambient listen as opposed to a pure black metal one, but nevertheless, it’s one of the best albums of this type that I’ve ever heard. “II: Using Self-Destrution In The Pursuit Of A Better Life” is up there with “Vastness and Sorrow,” “The Fated Breath” and “Blood Eagle Sacrifice” in terms of downright amazing modern USBM songs.

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