- Sarah Stubbs
ALBUM REVIEW: Wrathrone's 'Reflections of Torment'
There’s long been a tendency to lump death metal acts into one of two grossly oversimplified clichés. The first of which being tiresomely derivative displays of mindless brutality or, worse still, slick and lifelessly overproduced modern posturing.
But from the moment Wrathrone’s writhing multitude of smouldering, blackly majestic guitar accents erupt in a gargling cacophony of screams, it fast becomes apparent that any such attempt to label or pigeonhole these lawlessly inventive Finns would be doomed to spectacular failure. From gargantuan slabs of sinewy bass to lacerating licks that sting the senses with scalding extremes of aggression, ‘Reflections of Torment’ palpably reeks of the genre’s most classic and instantly recognisable trademarks. Indeed, with its dissonant strains of scalpel-edged tremolo and exhilarating blastbeats that accelerate wildly atop grave-scented layer upon layer of chugging grooves, ‘Gut Goddess’ is particularly rich with evidence of this deathly legacy.
But for all ‘…Torment’s’ gloriously visceral, genre-defining character, the intoxicating depth of complexity and tautly controlled execution displayed here in spades is equally teeming with electrifying freshness and originality. Take, for instance, ‘End of Your Sanity’s’ crushing slew of rhythmic blasts whose artfully engineered pacing and restraint leaves us breathless with anticipation before unleashing a brain-liquefying deluge of sleekly agile solos. Or the densely muscular, contorted twin guitars and ghoulishly sustained scream that opens ‘Bloodline’ in spectacularly adrenaline-fuelled fashion. With our attention rapt within moments of this wickedly abrasive display, low-slung lines of inky, reverb-laden guitar unravel restlessly beneath an intricate array of scalding licks and notey symmetries whose dizzying, accelerative energy leaves the synapses crackling with adrenaline.
But it’s ‘Dead Inside Me's’ deft intermingling and splicing of knife-edged aggression and crushingly immersive doom that makes for perhaps the most varied and inventive of these relentlessly captivating, pitch-black titles.
Transitioning seamlessly back and forth between violent fits of battering hyperblasts and lusciously expansive, Paradise Lost-flavoured layers of smouldering fretwork, this darkly diverse standout finds the Finns at the crowning pinnacle of their compositional powers.
Dizzyingly electrifying, darkly imagined and wondrously suspenseful at every whiplash-inducing, exhilarating turn, this is, unequivocally and without question, a work of compositional brilliance.
‘Reflections of Torment’ is out now on Satanath Records
Grab your copy now at https://tinyurl.com/y95btqb8