Wreck-Defy – The World Enslaved (Doc Gator Records)

Friday, 31st December 2021
Rating: 9/10

Wasting no time getting down to more recording, guitarist Matt Hanchuck as the driving force behind Canadian thrash outfit Wreck-Defy assembled more killer musicians for this fourth album The World Enslaved. Hot off the heels of the strong Powers That Be album from last year and issuing a four-song covers EP We Got You Covered last summer featuring their take on songs from Bryan Adams, Loverboy, and The Tragically Hip among others, the latest recruit on vocals Greg Wagner has plenty of seasoning through previous work with Breaker, Shattered Messiah, and Archetype over the years. Add in bassist Greg Christian and drummer David Allen and it’s obvious that we have solid musicianship and execution in the ranks – so where do these ten songs stack up compared to previous work?

Recording remotely again across Canada, California, and Ohio due to obvious pandemic restrictions, the professional mix through Trident Studios ensures a potent, modern accent to the ripping melodic power/thrash proceedings. Matt has the ideal penchant for laying down solid rhythms and supplementing the correct melodic/harmonic breaks and textures – check out his galloping licks and spirited Randy Rhoads-like drive during “Crushing the Coward”. Greg also pushes his fluid bass abilities while also holding down the low-end duties – rivaling some of his best older Testament times during “Fashionably Offended”. The biggest difference this time around is the versatile chameleon-like shifts in the range of Greg Wagner vocally. The man can belt out some serious bluesy notes/screams a la Dan McCafferty during the semi-ballad to emotionally power driven “Obey” then be metallic and forceful to a Halford-like veneer for the Cyclone Temple/Heathen-esque “Moment of Clarity”. The obvious government corruption, tyranny, lies, and greed components that appear in the lyrics are firmly based in reality – just given a fantasy twist and fleshed out with some soundtrack/narrative angles from time to time to make “Bring it All Down” a banging opener, certainly sure to cause limb and cranial damage in that late 80’s/early 90’s Overkill mold. And when the band downshifts into epic terrain for “I’d Share Your Grave”, the poignant, emotional delivery and quality clean to electric dynamic shifts rivet the aural landscape a la “Revelations”/Iron Maiden, Metal Church, or Megadeth.

A logical successor to Powers That Be, this follow-up The World Enslaved has plenty of power and heads down thrash, along with key melodies, hooks, and versatility to keep interest and become another pinnacle outing for the band.

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