Wombbath – Downfall Rising (Dark Descent)

Thursday, 6th August 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

Welcome one and all, to yet another case of ‘retro wonders.’ This of course, referring to a rather large number of bands that have resurrected in recent years (many of which from Sweden) after fizzling out back in the early ‘90s. Wombbath fit the bill, releasing one full-length album (along with a few demos/EP) before calling it a day. Now sole original member Håkan Stuvemark (ex-In Thy Dreams) has snagged some fresh talent from Jonny Petterson (Ashcloud), Jeramie Kling and Taylor Nordbert of Infernaeon (along with a few others – Nordbert only contributes additional guitar parts) to continue Wombbath version 2.0.

There’s no doubt as to what Downfall Rising is going to sound like once you get past the obligatory/pointless “Intro.” Holding up the HM-2 pedal with pride, Wombbath are going to push the Swedish death metal sound to its maximum. The band is most comfortable at the mid-tempo chug, allowing themselves the honors to whip up some surprisingly tasty riffs and even better solos, which gives the album much of its charm. Crusty, filthy riffs graciously pollute songs like “Underneath the Rotten Soil” and “I Am the Abyss,” yet there’s something about the subtle/not-so-subtle melodies (“Fall of the Weak”) that return this disc back for another round. The band even move towards some more symphonic elements on the closing “Abandoned Futhermore,” which ends far too soon. Lastly, Petterson’s vocals may not be the most original, but they are highly effective and the deathly bellows give that occasionally desperate but always sinister feel that’s required.

Despite a backstory that’s seemingly becoming more and more cliché as more bands come back around for a second shot, Wombbath’s return is a worthy effort. Downfall Rising keeps things memorable throughout, due to the strength of their compositions and is sure to please all ‘buzzsaw guitar’ fanatics.

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