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Wrath And Ruin : Mouth of Oblivion

The Godflesh vibe of Wrath and Ruin’s first effort helps them to stand out a bit from the crowd of modern 'sludgy Post-Metal' outfits.

Wrath And Ruin’s music is built on a simple canvas that is repeated in each song: the main pillar around which the whole album revolves is the ever-present contrast between keyboards and industrial rhythms, a contrast between two features that could appear as a conflict, since, at first glance, the dreamy and ethereal waves of the keyboards don’t match the tribal and syncopated rhythm section. But it works, and it’d better to, as this ‘dialogue’ is the main theme of the album, a guiding thread with two outcomes: it holds the songs strongly together but it also makes the whole sound systematic.

Wrath And Ruin are not a Doom band per se, they could be seen as one of those mid-tempo sludgy ‘Post-Metal’ outfits that seems to move in swarms these days. The songwriting is, as I said, composed of two important layers that won’t move from start to finish: an underlayer of ominous keyboards, floating vaguely, crawling in the background - their role is to release a kind of lurking threat, an ominous presence that never really declares itself, it’s just there, like a vicious toxic fume coiling in the distance; and then, emerging more frankly, as a brutal counterpoint, an aggressive, warlike rumble of guitar sustained by a relentless drumming - the drummer most often hits his drums and cymbals like an hyperkinetic epileptic. All that fierce energy is chastened by the voice with a cool low range. The singer does a good job in trying some variations: almost muffled at times, his voice can burst into typical hardcore yells, or shrink to a whisper or a raspy snarl.

The music has the sound of a machine-gun, it’s modern and heavy. There’re also some interesting oniric shades, a strange floating that is brought by both the keyboards’ lines and the hammering of the guitars: it manages to create a kind of hypnosis that is now and then cut by more calm breathings.

There is a cinematic dimension to the keyboards; they sound very dark, without weaving any too complicated tapestry; on the contrary, their part is really very simple, made of only long chords spinned out to the rupture. On the whole, the music has an insistent power, it diffuses into your head like a shamanic ceremony; you behold large fields devastated by heavy convoys of soldiers hitting the ground with their studded boots like a big blind iron-caparisoned worm.

That being said, all the tracks sound rather alike, and don’t really seem to convey a particular intention that would justify this or that particular setting. The whole resembles a Rubik cube, a unique coherent building where each rooms appears as the continuation and the repetition of the next one, like an experiment on different versions of the same idea.

If, through their icy and ominous sound, the claustrophobic echoes that permeate it and the crawling neurosis, Wrath And Ruin evoke Halo and through them Godflesh and even The Swans, from those three bands they’ve only kept a propensity toward the ‘heavy-cold-mechanical’. Their music is still lacking an extra parcel of soul to really take off, a breath of madness, a controlled chaos, something that would help them getting out of the ruts that their heavy tank leaves in the frozen tarmac to bring them into the heart of the hostile lands they’re only watching from afar.

Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
Wrath and ruin
1. Remnant
2. Lifeform
3. A World Without Light
4. Altars
5. Ritual
6. Arkenu II
7. The Bug
8. Contagion
9. Sedna
10. Strength of Materials
11. The Edgeless Beyond

Duration : Approx. 50 minutes

Visit the Wrath And Ruin bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-01-21 by Bertarnd Marchal
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