The Wretched End - Inroads [Blackened Thrash / Death]
I was actually enticed after hearing 'The Haunting Ground', which other critics have called a mediocre song treading in familiarity. At first glance, it may be so, but The Wretched End, which features the wonderful Samoth, co-guitarist of the legendary Emperor, features a very fine mix of thrash and death metal, taking the best of both, the raw anger of thrash and the heaviness of death, with a black metal atmosphere that seems to pervade the entire album despite the absence of black metal elements in the album. So do they deliver?
I may have to sit on the fence on this one. Some songs are extremely refreshing, relying on a chugging mid-tempo instead of the over-the-top speed that seems to be an annoying staple in all modern metal. And in simple songs like the 'The Haunting Ground' and 'Cold Iron Soul'.\, the songwriting seems to work.
Samoth however, isn't breaking the barrier for the rest of the album. The fusion of two metal genres isn't executed as definitively as Behemoth's fantastic union of black metal and death metal in 2007's The Apostasy. If this album came out a few years ago, the album could have been deemed a solid release, but now the songs just stagnate out within a few spins. Vocals are monotonous as hell, drums, though refreshing, aren't exactly impressive in the age of Meshuggah and Behemoth. Songwriting doesn't seem to go against the norm, pretty much the same verse-chorus-solo-verse-chorus nonsense that has been done to death since the emergence of metal. There is almost no variation between songs. Samoth may be the album's only saving grace, he is undoubtedly a talented guitarist, to be able to write death riffs, a tremelo picked solo and a thrash headbanger in a single song, but well, stop wasting time with two clowns who are mediocre at best.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Passable - One or two good songs, a bit of flow