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The Wretched End - "Inroads" (CD)

The Wretched End - "Inroads" CD cover image

"Inroads" track listing:

1. Tyrant of the Mountain (4:06)
2. Deathtopian Society (4:24)
3. Death by Nature (3:38)
4. Cold Iron Soul (4:26)
5. The Haunting Ground (3:25)
6. Fear Propaganda (5:16)
7. Blackthorn Winter (4:02)
8. Hunger (3:32)
9. Throne Renowned of Old (5:30)

Reviewed by on June 18, 2012

"In short, 'Inroads' completely delivers on the aggressive and dark fronts for nine tracks of perfectly blended thrash and death."

An unholy marriage between brutal death and head banging thrash is probably the last thing that one would expect from guitarist Samoth, who was in the thick of the early black metal scene in Norway. Stepping far away from his musical roots and taking the heaviness is a completely different direction, Samoth’s new project The Wretched End now offers up another helping of aggressive metal filled to the brim with guitar shredding on second album “Inroads.”

To get the comparisons to earlier work out of the way, “Inroads” only has a miniscule black metal influence, and the album is honestly about as far from Emperor as music can get without using clean singing (and don’t worry – there isn’t any). The only real connection to Samoth’s previous and more famous musical endeavors is in a general mood, and not in a specific sound or way of playing. While the album is almost entirely focused on brutality rather than atmosphere, and it never even bothers with anything symphonic, it does still have a dark and evil vibe that could be identified with black metal in spirit, if not in execution.

All nine tracks on “Inroads” are an utterly visceral experience, combining death and thrash into a very different kind of sonic assault: it’s massively heavy, but not overly fast or complicated. Splitting the difference between the speed of thrash and the brutality of death, the release doesn’t whiz by at breakneak speed, but rather has a constant chugging momentum that carries the tracks forward and keeps the head banging opportunities pretty much non-stop. “Melodic” isn’t really a word that applies to these songs, but the album does add on another layer by throwing in tracks like “Fear Propaganda,” which have a few slower and more deliberate segments (as well as some brief voiceovers) for a change in pacing.

The Wretched End’s second full-length offering isn’t an overly long release, but that works in its favor as there aren’t any major style shifts between the songs, instead only featuring minor tweaks in tempo and structure. Likewise, there’s nothing particularly progressive here and there aren’t a host of new sounds to be discovered, but there doesn't need to be, as the album easily stands solely on its heaviness and solid songwriting. In short, “Inroads” completely delivers on the aggressive and dark fronts for nine tracks of perfectly blended thrash and death.

Highs: Aggressive death metal with a whole lot of guitar shredding and a seriously dark atmosphere.

Lows: The album doesn't have much variation, and there's not really any new ground broken musically.

Bottom line: Samoth and co. continue to explore a combination of death and thrash with an aggressive new release that seethes darkness.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)