If you haven't come across The Wretched End yet, now is the time. The extreme Metal trio, from Notodden in Norway consist of Thomas 'Samoth' Haugen, lead/rhythm guitars, formerly with Emperor and Zyklon, Cosmo, lead/rhythm/bass vocals, from Mindgrinder and Nils Fjellström, drums, ex Dark Funeral and Aeon. The band began initially as an extreme Metal collaboration project between Samoth and Cosmo in 2008.
Their first album 'Ominous', graced the ears of the 'Epicurean' Metalhead in 2010, an aural assault of Extreme Metal, heavily influenced by death, thrash and black Metal. That album was well received by both music fans and music press alike, also a personal favourite of mine, now they are back with their latest offering, 'Inroads'.
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On 'Inroads' the band have continued in the same vein of death, thrash and black influenced extreme Metal as their debut 'Ominous' and they have really built on that initial sound but 'Inroads' has a more blackened, sinister, apocalyptic feel to it, particularly the lyrics.
Musically the album is even tighter than the previous one. A great effort has been made to successfully build and improve on their last album and the result is excellent: an absolute 'face ripper' of an album!
Choosing a favourite track on this album is next to impossible; all nine are of an equally impressive standard, however, here's a few that stand out for me. The opening track, 'Tyrant Of The Mountain', has an 'ear grating' opening developing into a wave of frantic riffs, which makes for an excellent start to the album.
In 'Deathtopian Society' the combination of sirens, echoing, haunting, backing vocals gives a dark eerie atmosphere. 'Death By Nature' has a catchy chugging riff and aggressive vocal repeat pattern throughout making it the kind of catchy tune that sticks in the mind.
In 'Hunger' the tempo builds giving a sense of urgency and desperation and to top it off has a bluesy guitar solo that I absolutely love. 'Cold Iron Soul' with its delightfully diabolical sounding guitar riff gives a real sinister feel to the whole track.
The whole album has enough variety to keep it interesting but enough consistency of style to still gel together the apocalyptic concept, cleverly constructed from start to finish.
It was recorded at Strand Studio and the album cover design, aimed to feel cold, desolate and apocalyptic, was once again done by Trine + Kim Studio, responsible for the artwork on the previous album.
The release date for this masterpiece is April 23rd, my birthday. It doesn't get much better than that! Would I recommend it? Too right I would!!