Wretched
Son of Perdition

North Carolina’s Wretched return with their third album on Victory Records, carrying the flag for the label’s strangely eclectic death metal roster amid the likes of Pathology and Jungle Rot. And while I’ve enjoyed the band’s prior two releases, they remain a band that are just ‘there’ for me, neither overly impressing me or making me loathe them.

Certainly the band has a modern death metal energy and slice  ‘n’ dice American sound that compares favorably to the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder and other like minded acts and with Son of Perdition there seems to be an increased sense of virtuoso technicality that imbues Vale of Pnath or Arsis. However, even with all these positives, Wretched just never seem to fulfill the potential and cash in on their obvious skill.

That’s not to say the band and indeed the album is not enjoyable, as in fact Son of Perdition does a lot right with a tight punchy delivery, sharp production and oodles of skill,  but it’s the death metal equivalent of Chinese food- it’s all tasty and filling at the timing you are consuming it, but an hour later you are craving something else.  And quite frankly, after multiple listening sessions, I can’t recall a single memorable moment or riff from the competently fierce yet melodic hack and slash of the album’s first six songs and their slightly melodic, slightly technical take on metal

But there is some better news around the seventh song. As with the last 2 records, the band flirts with some classical and atmospheric elements, but never fleshes them out for more than an intro (“Oblivion”), interlude, or few opening/closing bars of a song as heard in the albums unfulfilled promise of trilogy “The Stellar Sunset of Evolution Pt. 1 (The Silence) , pt 2 (The Rise) and pt 3 (The Son of Perdition)” .  Here, the band’s more adventurous side is only touched upon, but the chance is missed to mingle both styles with a potentially, almost Fleshgod Apocalypse styled amalgamation. Instead the band takes a three song break into acoustic/instrumental/classical tangents rather than fully integrate these more adventurous elements into their high octane assault.  But then they go right back cliched, almost deathcore stomp and romp of “Karma Accomplished” .

After the album closes with the lumbering closer “Decimation”, I reminded of a common sports analogy: “Looks like Tarzan, Plays Like Jane”. Wretched is that ripped, highly touted naturally athletic football player who on paper has the skill set to be a star and at times flashes enough ability to really impress. But ultimately, they never quite put it all together and only tantalize with a sparse few moments leaving a lot of unrealized potential on the field.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 11th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jesse Wolf

    It’s an okay album imo. Great review as always sir. I wish Adam Cody would get Glass Casket back in the studio but until then Wretched will do I suppose.


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