There has been plenty of good words and enthusiasm placed around UK metallers Wraiths over recent times and with their new EP Hollow now ravaging the ears it is easy to see why. Fuelled by a maelstrom of heavy and extreme metal with raging potential veining its every twist and turn, the release is a formidable and gripping protagonist. It is an encounter which makes a slightly underwhelming start but emerges as a titanic fury with potent invention and enthralling enterprise. It is fair to say that the Middlesbrough quartet is nowhere near the finished article yet but has all the promise and armoury to be one compelling and potent force.
Wraiths were conceived in 2012 by four friends with the intent to sculpt and bring something new to deathcore. Swiftly making a strong impression live, supporting the likes of Demoraliser, Brutality Will Prevail, Madball, End Reign, Iced Out, Pay No Respect, Odessa and Destroyer BC since forming, the band also staked a fair claim on attention with their debut self-titled EP in 2012 and a stronger call with the single Hollow Lungs last year. It is easy to suspect that Hollow will open up a greater spotlight and hunger for the band, its bestial body from a decent and concentrated start turning into an adventurous predator with jaws of vitriolic hostility which simply enslaves the imagination.
As mentioned Hollow makes a powerful start but does not start a fire in the belly right away. The first two tracks simmer and definitely light attention but leave an ‘ok that was good but how about impressing me’ feeling, something it undoubtedly does from there on in. Opening track Godslayer rises from a sonic mist to pound ears with vicious swipes of rhythms and carnivorously fired riffs. It is a dramatically imposing start, a stalking crawling pestilential entrance with the vocals of Rae Robinson crawling venomously over every note and percussive incitement. It is certainly a destructively imposing encounter which stands tall and barbaric against the senses, the roaming rhythms of Rick Baker especially enticing against the rugged wall of riffs and spiky grooves conjured by guitarist Daniel Charlton alongside bassist Dale Husband. The track holds focus firm but lacks the spark to ignite emotions or put the band clearly to the side of many other metal/death core propositions.
There is an underlying lure though which ensures thoughts are held rigorously, a successful bait matched in the following Malignation. Its start is similar in many ways to its predecessor but soon casts its own web of predacious provocation and agitated animosity. The two faced guttural squalls of Robinson make a better impression than most frontmen in the scene whilst the lurching rhythms and stalking guitar play of Charlton equally spin an enslaving incitement, yet the track whilst more intriguing than the first again feeds expectations arguably more than defies them. That is something Gravelord soon puts right. The band’s new video single does not move too far from the already familiar start to songs but is soon twisting that canvas into a sinister and almost carnal web of sonic and rhythms animosity coated in a virulent contagion which grips imagination and appetite alike. The vocals find greater ferocity through at times a group delivery whilst the bestial depths and malevolence of the track is like sonic tar, sticking to and inflaming senses and emotions with its burning spite. The track is a brawl to be consumed by and devour greedily, that once missing indefinable element a searing flame of endeavour and inventive rancor.
The impressive track is instantly matched by Devoured, its assault a scything and scornful saw of caustic riffs aligned to vehement rhythms from Baker which in turn are just as acrimoniously assisted by the bile rich tones of Husband’s bass. The track tears chunks from ears before settling into a no less cruel stride but one soaked in an infectiousness which almost makes it seem kinder in manner. The song develops a swagger too which makes the strongest persuasion, deceptively hiding the harsh malignancy of invention and sound at the song’s heart. It is a glorious scourge of torrential savagery, unrelenting in its pillaging and taking of the senses but an embittered tempter too with a deliciously irresistible melodic groove veining its latter flank before a brutal finale.
The release closes with Belial, a track which meanders with composed tenacity through an almost progressive maze of sound and emotive danger within a tsunami of oppressive and addictive violent intensity. The most inventive and diverse track on the Hollow, the track flirts with and gnaws on the psyche from start to finish, its ever increasing malice and bitter enterprise soaking its magnetic again pestilential presence. It is an excellent end to an enthralling and highly pleasing release. Certainly the early enjoyable enticements made a decent impression but from the third track the EP shows itself and the band to be a proposition to get excited about as it rips apart body and soul. There is more to be found within Wraiths to push them into the biggest spotlight but on the evidence of Hollow, they are heading in the right thrilling direction.
The Hollow EP is available now through all digital stores and the Gravelord single as your own chosen price @ http://wraithshc.bandcamp.com/track/gravelord
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