With intent as devilish as the band’s name suggests comes the new album from extreme metal band Wykked Wytch. Dripping malice and unbridled intensity The Ultimate Deception is an undeniable caustic rub on the senses, its acidic melodies, threatening riffs, and badgering rhythms manipulative as they toy and tease, and overall it is one fine experience. Bringing a mix of black metal, death and thrash infused with a technical prowess and industrial like steel ,the album grabs hold before rupturing and unleashing its formidable and consuming sounds. They sound like a sinister alchemist’s invocation formed from the tattered corpses of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir with the bones of a Djerv, Otep and Dominanz thrown in for extra spice, malevolent, nasty and entrancing. The Ultimate Deception is far from perfect but the lasting emotion at its close is to dive right back into its intimidating charms and often.
From South Florida Wykked Wytch formed in the mid 90’s with their debut album Something Wykked This Way Comes self-released in 1996. This was the starting point of keen interest and growing acclaim for the band firstly with the album being picked up for a re-release by Demolition Records in Europe, then in 2001 with the release of follow-up Angelic Vengeance. Successful European tours and further albums releases in Nefret (2004) and Memories of A Dying Whore (2008) has only enhanced and cemented the band as an intriguing and impressive proposition live and in the studio, never dull or predictable and always challenging in the best way. Current line-up for The Ultimate Deception consisting of the majestic tones and vocal ability of front woman Ipek, the stunning guitar skills of Nate Poulson, session drummer Kevin Talley, and Salvatore Lopresti on keys have unleashed a beast that takes charge of the ear to abuse and violate as it equally engages and inspires. The album is unpredictable and at times chaotic and across its length wavers in consistency but when it is peaking it is glorious and within its lows strongly satisfying.
Released via Goomba Music February 14th the album starts on a distinct high with opener ‘Birthing The Beast’ and plays as the title suggests. Coming into view with peaceful almost angelic charm the track mesmerises before black hearted tones take over. Pounding challenging riffs and punchy rhythms rage whilst Ipek shows she has lost none of her impressive range and skill. Her delivery here and throughout the album bring a jaw dropping mix of clean and serpentine vocals into a merger with bestial and venomous then going deeper into the infernal pit for guttural and virulent. With most bands a vocalist of this talent would override the sounds, prove too distracting but upon The Ultimate Deception there is no fear with the stunning guitar skill of Poulson. He guides the ear to the whole sound with incisive play, scorched melodies and beauteous balance to the harshness elsewhere, ably and impressively aided by Talley and Lopresti.
As mentioned the album ebbs and flows a little, mainly from the likes of the title track, ‘Prayer Of The Decapitated’ and ‘Abolish The Weak, very pleasing and strong songs that they are but not having the essences to sweep one up into their muscular arms and give something that lingers. That is highlighted when the tracks that really hit the mark unveil their quality alongside these great but unmemorable songs. ‘Serpents Among Us’ is easily the best track on the album, its spite and bile oozing from every pore. Poulson pummels and mesmerises throughout, his heavy riffs an incessant intrusion tempered by glorious razor sharp melodies and thoughtful creativity. Talley barges through the ear with bullying rhythms and Ipek does what she does best, give her all with more varied and irresistible vocals.
‘Despised Existence’ and the closing ‘Eyes Of The Vulture’ come close to matching ‘Serpents Among Us’, the first a bitter declaration that plays the senses with a force only instinct and Nature can bring, its melodic moments like being in the eye of the storm, a peace and melodic assurance waiting to be blasted apart. ‘Eyes Of The Vulture’ is a predatory monster of a track in intent and riffs, a withering hate fuelling the sound. A maelstrom of energy, sounds and emotions it picks the ear clean leaving one breathless at its departure. There is a cover of Metallica’s ‘Fade To Black’ included within the album too and if not quite up to the original Wykked Wytch have given it their own unique and agreeable touch, refusing to go the route most do of simply doing a version of.
The Ultimate Deception is an excellent album that does not quite reach its potential to be a classic, but it is easily a release that will be welcomed and played consistently, all one can ask of a record right?