North Carolina is home to a wide assortment of very successful teams, organizations, and bands. The ones worth mentioning are the UNC Tar Heels (five time NCAA basketball champions), North Carolina Museum of Art (the nation’s first art museum), and heavy metal titans Between the Buried and Me (previous Victory Records artist).
Formed in 2005 (originally as a jam band), Wretched is soon to leave their footprint in North Carolina’s musical history. Their latest album, “Son of Perdition”, is their third studio production. Wretched’s previous albums, “The Exodus of Autonomy” and “Beyond the Gate”, both had a great death metal/thrash feel. To be honest, I was expecting “Son of Perdition” to be of the same stature. After listening to “Son of Perdition”, only one word can accurately describe the album: diverse. From using organs to choirs to cellos, Wretched concocted an album that will leave the listener mesmerized in an aura of satisfying concord.
In order to truly grasp the whole concept of the album, the listener should be aware that the album name, “Son of Perdition”, is a phrase that appears in the New Testament. The phrase has recently been translated as “The One Doomed to Destruction”.
The first track, “Oblivion”, is a choir accompanied by a demonic sounding church organ. Wretched have put together an opening track that is easily one of the best of the year so far. Packed with diminished chords, augmented fourths, and eerie choir singing it encompasses the whole album’s mood. It foreshadows the album in a way that makes the listener even more eager to hear what will come next.
As I had mentioned earlier, “Son of Perdition” is an incredibly diverse album. It embraces so many different elements that make it stand out from other death metal releases. There are tracks that appeal to death metal fans, as well as the modern deathcore audience. Songs like “Imminent Growth”, “At the First Signs of Rust”, “Dilated Disappointment”, and “Karma Accomplished” all have fast, moving, and technical riffs. Guitar solos are alive and present as well. I did have trouble finding Grevey’s bass in the mix at times. Fortunately, it was one of few critiques that I had for Wretched.
Wretched had composed a prodigious three song instrumental which shed light on a side of the band that we have yet to see in any of their albums. The three parts of “The Stellar Sunset of Evolution” showcased how Wretched can not only play death metal, but create ambient and musical ideas that flow smoothly. I would even go as far as saying that it was “a mini Rush 2112 experience”. The three songs told each of their stories respectively. Emotions had translated beautifully through the three tunes. The guitar solos made the listener feel as if they were going on an emotional ride through a field of desolation, similar to the one portrayed as the album cover art. I was pleased to also hear plenty of bass in these tunes. Grevey had some great solos to compliment the very dominant guitar. The drums could have been a bit more active. They seemed to have taken “the safe way”. The drumming definitely complimented the guitar melodies, but I wish there was some more intricacy. Some technical fills here and there would have taken these songs to a whole new level.
The overall production of “Son of Perdition” was done very well. I wished at times that there could have been more bass. Vocals are much different than the previous Wretched albums. Adam Cody had added a very sinister and devilish sound to this already demonic sounding album. There are much more deep and guttural vocals compared to the earlier albums. I personally enjoyed these vocals much more. There was a satisfying balance of shrieking highs and lows.
“Son of Perdition” was also incredibly heavy. Indeed there were breakdowns, but they were done in a death metal fashion. My favorite part was the final minute of “The Stellar Sunset of Evolution (The Son of Perdition)”. The groove was enough to make anyone who was listening bang their head. The riff was perfectly placed since the previous two songs were basically building up to the final moment of the three movement gem.
If you are a fan of Conducting From the Grave, Dying Fetus, and/or Man Must Die then “Son of Perdition” is definitely worth your time. The production earns a high score of 9/10. An incredible amount of diversity, technicality, and originality makes “Son of Perdition” a force to be reckoned with. If this was merely the son of perdition, I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around how the father of damnation would sound…
“Son of Perdition” was released on March 26, 2012 through Victory Records.