Wretched
The Exodus of Autonomy

The reason I decided to review the debut from this North Carolina act and Italy’s The Modern Age Slavery so close together was so readers could get two examples of how to beat a dead horse – on one hand The Modern Age Slavery making deathcore sound even more redundant and tired, and on the other hand, Wretched delivering a solid example of The Black Dahlia Murder worship and giving it energy, voracity and memorability.

I’ll tell you right away, Wretched are not doing anything remotely original, in fact, stylistically this is as contrived and unoriginal as death metal gets, but like releases from Sons of Azrael, Salt the Wound and Mirror Of Dead Faces, its done very, very well.

Sandwiched between two classical instrumental pieces (“Shrouded in Filth”, “VIII: Everlasting Damnation”), the bulk of the album is, as I mentioned, The Black Dahlia Murder styled American death metal. However, as with a slew of recent American ‘core’ based releases (label mates Within the Ruins, Woe of Tyrants, Fate, Conducting From the Grave, Malefice, etc), Wretched also manage to add some sharp solos and melody to the basic premise, perhaps stemming from their North Carolina roots, resulting in an above average effort and Victory’s most impressive metal album in some time.

While the entire album is pretty consistent from start to finish, and has a tangible sense of classic black and death metal prose wrapped in the modern sheen and delivery – notably the epic “Before the Rise” and “A of Immortality”, of note is the album’s last half, including the very impressive, almost nine minute instrumental title track (complete with flamenco injection and some sweeping Between the Buried and Me harmonies) and fiercely melodic penultimate track, “The Descent”.

On the downside, the production is slightly murky production, there’s some ‘samey’ percussion and pretty forgetful vocals, but those elements are offset by the bands dramatic flare for melodies while simply sticking to traditional death metal themes and lyrics, rather than try of be quirky and off the wall, an element that while I’ll admit is completely subjective on my behalf, I’ll always give a begrudging nod to.

With the new Darkest Hour album slated for a June 2009 release, Wretched, Within the Ruins and to a lesser extent, Arise and Ruin have kept Victory Record’s metal reputation somewhat intact, i just hope Darkest Hour is up to the challenge as The Exodus of Autonomy is a damn solid debut that has a lot of promise for Victory’s metal future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 7th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Rev

    I really liked the title track, but the rest is painfully contrived.


  2. Commented by: Reviews › Salt the Wound – Ares › Teeth of the Divine

    […] while at their heart, the band is right in line with the likes of Inferi, Wretched, Mirror of Dead Faces and Sons of Azrael as far as their competent The Black Dahlia Murder worship, […]


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