Some would call Wykked Wytch, a female-fronted outfit from South Florida and their new album 'The Ultimate Deception', a mix of black, death and thrash Metal, a challenging listen. They would be correct too. Front woman Ipek's vocal ranges from death grunts to wicked witch of the west cat screams to clean and operatic cleverly giving the impression of three vocalists.
Despite an aggressively tight focus, the music is busy with seemingly every idea being thrown into the mix. Technically proficient, 'The Ultimate Deception' doesn't hold back with its complex time changes giving the album's extreme Metal a slight prog tinge. Blasts of shredding guitar and double kick drumming explode left, right and centre with the gay abandon of an uncharted mine field.
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The album kicks off with 'Birthing The Beast', a rapid fire stomper with an atmospheric keyboard intro, and 'Prayers For The Decapitated' and 'Despised Existence' rattle along with the insistence of a machine gun on full auto and that pretty much sums the rest of the album up, except for 'Abolish The Weak' which is the closest Wykked Wytch come to a straight rocker. It is all very intense and noisy with only 'Ecstasy' offering a respite from the unrelenting sameness.
The problem with 'The Ultimate Deception' is that it is not allowed to groove. Like Mother Nature, the band seems to hate a void and so every empty space has been filled, sometimes inappropriately with anything that has been left lying around. Got a spare blast drum section? Chuck it in. Found a bit of shredding solo? Yep, that'll do. How's about some free form chug? Oh yes please.
Of course none of this allows the album to gel, there is no cohesion, no hook, no catch and it simple will not flow. As soon as there is even a whiff of a groove the band kicks the album up its arse and sends it in a completely different direction. It is all very well demonstrating technical excellence when held by such tight constraints but it helps if structure can be maintained.
Still, despite the above criticism, Wykked Wytch might well have got away with it had a cover of Metallica's 'Fade To Black' not been included. There is no problem with covering someone else's song, everyone does it, but when that song just happens to be a classic then bands really should tighten up the quality control of their own stuff first otherwise there is a good chance the cover track will outclass their own material and on 'The Ultimate Deception' the band did not and so the cover track did. It's not the best Metallica cover you will ever hear but it still manages to effortlessly do a number on the rest of the album.
If you really want to inflict severe torment on your mum/partner/neighbour then I think you will find 'The Ultimate Deception' the perfect weapon of choice. Go for it!