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The Wounded : The Art of Grief

People have often a tendency to confuse modern doom variants with gothic music and label it gothic-metal. These bands more then willingly bear this label, as the term gothic has become an interesting marketing label. However, we hardly ever hear a metal band that truly mixes in the gothic style as it developed independently from metal during the 80ties with Metal. The Wounded is a welcome exception here.

A giant red sticker on the album says "When Anathema meets The Cure. You'll drown in the dark deep waters of infinite sadness." Usually these comments are name-dropping to sell a still unknown band, and of course that also is the case here. But while mostly these descriptions are far-fetched, this one I must admit is spot on. 'The Art of Grief' is beyond a doubt a great combination between the old death-doom Anathema once played and rock / new romantic music in the style of The Cure.

This also means that this debut album is slightly different from their better-known follow-up album. While the band on their later opus 'Monument' opted to drop their metal roots for a more goth rock approach, here your still get your slab of down tuned doom. Pounding guitars, slow riffing and the occasional grunt are combined with more melodic and mellow rock with clean weeping vocals. Most of the metal parts will remind you a lot of Anathema's masterpiece 'Pentecost III'. But despite the sometimes uncanny resemblance, it does not bother me one bit. The Wounded found just the right balance between being influenced by and shamelessly ripping off. A lot of credit for this goes to vocalist Marco van den Velde.

Marco's vocals may not the best in the world, but they sound so comfortable that they become one of the main attractions on this album. His voice sounds very fragile and filled with sorrow, but somehow he never comes across as being overly whiny. His distinct vocals make sure you will be able to recognize a The Wounded song instantly. Combine this with the solid and often catchy, yet sorrowful, song writing and this album as such has become one of my most played albums.

I'm not quite sure what the exactly appeal of The Wounded is and what makes me listen to them so much. They don't exhibit extra ordinary song writing skills, they don't touch any deep emotional buttons. On paper, they are very much a run of the mill band combining nice catchy goth rock with slow doom. Somehow however the sound they've created is so catchy and pleasing that I often can't stop listening to it.

Special note should be taken of the song 'Frailty Thy Name is Woman', which truly is the opus for anybody who has ever loved and lost and the song 'Against All Gods', which reminds me a lot of Anathema's 'Kingdom' and 'We, the Gods'. The Bronsky Beat cover of the gay anthem 'Smalltown Boy' raises some questions to why exactly the band decided to cover this track. But the execution of it is perfect without a doubt, be it a slightly odd choice for a cover in my humble opinion.

To conclude: fans of a good mix of goth rock and doom-metal check out this album as fast as your feet can carry you to a record store, or your fingers can type the URL of your favourite mail-order company. Expect catchy yet sad sounding music that is perfect to either wallow in misery about a love you've lost or simply enjoy the catchy music while drinking a cold one with some friends.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Your Roses will Burn
2. Smalltown Boy
3. We Pass Our Bridal Days
4. The Art of Grief
5. Frailty Thy Name is Woman
6. (Where are You Now)
7. Against All Gods
8. Billet Doux
9. In Silence...

Duration : Approx. 60 minutes.

Visit the The Wounded bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Aldo Quispel
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