“Son of Perdition,” the new album from US band Wretched is a mighty assault upon the senses which is a grower rather than an instant triumph. Initial contact with the ear is certainly strong but strangely slightly underwhelming at times but given time and opportunity to reveal the impressively crafted melodic and technical death metal imagination within soon grabs a fuller appreciation. It is arguable if it would become an album of the year candidate come December but “Son of Perdition” brings an enterprise and diversity to the genre which has been lacking within many of recent releases to make it easily worth plenty of attention.
The quintet from Charlotte, North Carolina since forming in 2005 has grabbed growing acclaim through their releases and live performances. Previous albums “The Exodus Of Autonomy” and “Beyond The Gate” has seen their sound evolve from a more straight forward death metal abuse of the ear to the flowing and expansive sound within this their third album. “Son of Perdition” continues their established crushing intensity and power merging it with further inventive and inspired melodic ideas. The release is unpredictable, bringing an impressive and maybe surprisingly successful blend of destructive aggressive tracks and instrumentals of sheer beauty.
The album opens on the dawning grandeur and choral elegance of ‘Oblivion’, a brief and dramatic lure into the release. It is perfectly crafted but the kind of thing so many extreme metals bands have played with on their albums lately that its effect is diminished by the predictability. It does lead nicely into the sprawling storm of intensity and noise which is ‘Imminent Growth’. With thumping rhythms and incendiary melodic play from the guitars of Steven Funderburk and John Vail, the song offers a scourge of aggressive energy, blistering scorched interplay, and expressive variation. New vocalist Adam Cody is a bear of a singer, his delivery and swiping mix of tones paws against the ear to great pleasing effect.
From a strong start the following burly ‘At The First Sign Of Rust’ backs things up with its venomous prowling weight of sound, the seemingly exasperated tones of Cody expanding the again excellent guitar imagination and play. Drummer Marshall Wieczorek treats the listener like its personal punch bag with skill and control whilst bassist Andrew Grevey brings an ominous blackened heart to proceedings.
Though an impressive start the real highlights of the album come from this point starting with the corrupting malevolence of ‘Dilated Disappointment’ and the outstanding ‘Repeat. The End Is Near’. The first is a brute of a track, a hungry animal ravishing its victim with scything technical delight and disorientating intensity whilst the second is a burning maelstrom of flaming sonic skill, vicious grooves, and scurrying spiteful vocals to persistently leave one guessing and grinning at where the song is taking them.
The two songs are easily the best two pieces on the album though matched by the brilliant three part instrumental composition of ‘The Stellar Sunset Of Evolution’. Firstly ‘Pt. 1 (The Silence)’ slowly whispers around the ear with its breath of warm ambience and gentle caresses before moving into the vibrant and stirring ‘Pt. 2 (The Rise)’. Its early melodic stroll rises into a temperature and pace which heightens the air and pleasure as every member of the band reveal their expertise within a united ever evolving journey. As for the whole album, the production lets every aspect and player shine without diffusing the energy and intensity but on these three pieces, completed by the equally stunning ‘Pt. 3 (The Son Of Perdition)’, it comes into its own for the greatest results.
“Son of Perdition” is an excellent release which as mentioned needs some patience and little work for it to fully show its full worth. The effort is easily very rewarding though and shows Wretched as one of the more inventive and forward thinking death metal bands around.