Wretched – Cannibal (Victory Records)

Tuesday, 3rd June 2014
Rating: 8/10

You all know the adage about what happens when you assume, correct?  Well, when you see a band on Victory Records and whispers of deathcore are buzzing in your ear, it’s easy to pigeonhole and assume the worst (read: avoid this like the plague).  If the above statement applies to you, please consider this a public service announcement: Wretched play some venomous death thrash and you are missing out on it!

Not having checked out Wretched before (see the unfortunate notion listed above), Cannibal turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise.  Thrashy/melodic death metal with a flair for the technical comes across as the most obvious feature, with just the smallest deathcore influence (you probably won’t notice it if you weren’t listening for it) creeping out of the shadows.  There’s a great deal of melodic soloing and riffage, particularly enjoyable on the seven-minute title-track, which is entirely instrumental.  Closer “Engulfed in Lethargy” also has a standout lead towards the end, and really, most songs have a nice reference point somewhere along the way as the guitar work is the clear highlight of the disc.  The vocals follow a Black Dahlia Murder low/high pattern but Cody’s pipes have the required vitriol, adding to the band’s heaviness and are another highlight.

While there are some nods towards The Black Dahlia Murder, Wretched manage to separate themselves due to their emphasis on more technical songwriting.  The techy parts never seem too out of place nor do they interfere with the fast-paced, aggressive nature of the material itself, the litmus test of good songwriting in this field.  The sheer volume of engaging melodies to still be had speaks volumes for why you should be checking this one out.  Ignore the rumors and whispers of assumers, Cannibal is a solid piece of modern death metal.

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