Friday, July 26, 2013

Wound - Inhale The Void [2013]

Retro death metal is so fashionable these days that it's literally impossible to find a band that does not pay a proper homage to Dismember, Entombed and other Swedish pundits of gore and grime circa 1988-1993, and the case has shifted from not being able to successfully embody the traditional sound to not being able to give it a whiff of originality and pondering a little more for the sake of the album's level encapsulation. Such is the case with Germany's newest worshipers Wound, striking with a seemingly fresh debut straight from the sepulchral depths of the death metal cavern. Don't let the Gnostic, dreary artwork fool you, Wound isn't here to wreathe past subterranean, concave monuments; their sound almost entirely pinpoints to the same spectrum of influences I mentioned earlier, morbid, wrecking death metal processed through a jaded foundation of rusty chainsaws and olfactory miseries, another hardened but exhausted extraction of Swedeath broiled in modern sonic emphasis.

I was frankly quite disappointed to hear unmitigated chainsaws in the stead of a murkier morass of mourn, something that I have been eagerly digging since a succession of terrific releases by new bands from the 2010-2012 time period, (Anhedonist, Sonne Adam, Antediluvian, etc.) and hell, I could have even sufficed with some classy death metal akin to Wound's label-mates Chapel of Disease who fabricated a less tense brand of early Pestilence and Asphyx and inserted that into a carnal trajectory, but the sulking, squamous cephalopod in the cover wouldn't even let me have that. You may think that ''Inhale the Void'' is egregious, based on my complaints, but the thing is, it isn't. It's just that I've heard this cliche performed sans any kind of adornment or a more open-minded perspective upon the niche so many damn times, that it's just getting overly boring. Wound is thankfully no less than your garden-variety death metal bands out there, with a bulking, meaty tone that's so fucking huge that you'll end up as a bloody pulp by the time the flesh factory has processed you with a complete set of unrelenting instruments, twinging melodies that remind me of Dismember's masterful debut more than anything, and on the surface, it seems that there isn't a palpable paucity of any kind - but later on you discover the Germans are so fucking tight that they have no mobility and no space to grant them even the slightest bit of brazenness.

As far as the vocals go, however, I'm a fan. Wretched, black metal-esque snarls and barks seem utterly orthodox and out of place with the much familiar stream of cadaverous guitars roaming underneath, but that's the only distinction they have, and they should cling on to that as if it was their last strand of rope while cliffhanging from a mountain. This is not to say they should improve upon solely this department - they need to work a heap to hone their riffing patterns, too! The acoustic medleys of the title track or the sauntering, melodious guitar passages of ''Odium'' get you into thinking you're gonna get something different, but when the same molten barrage of lethargic d-beat riffs rush through, most of your apprehension, along with the excitement fleets away. That's ''Inhale The Void'' in a nutshell. It's packaged with just as many riffs - possibly even more - than all the other Swedeath drones out there, but they hardly seem meticulously penned - they may be consistent throughout, but they lose their spiky edge pretty quickly, except for ''Codex Arckanum'' which was a surprisingly intense run of 5 minutes, ripe with the bloodiest, most ferocious material on the album. Wound could have done worse, trust me with that, but scraping my ears with this is like contemplating a now-futile farmland through the eyes of a weary farmer, who now can't get as much as a bag of wheat, even through excessive cultivation. It certainly wasn't bad, but I was never quite captivated.

Codex Arckanum
Confess To Filth 

Rating: 67,5%

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