It’s been a long four years since we last heard new music from ZYKLON leader/guitarist Samoth. Regrouping anew with MINDGRINDER/SCUM vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Cosmo and Swedish drum beast Nils Fjellström (IN BATTLE, AEON, DARK FUNERAL), THE WRETCHED END prove to be cutting edge extreme metal.

Ominous embodies the qualities that (extreme) metal should possess: fierceness, technical prowess, great riffs, and a fist in the face delivery. The record is well balanced as brutality, a variety of tempos and riffing styles, black metal, death metal, thrash metal, melody, and dissonance all find their place. It’s logical that the next step in Samoth’s musical evolution bears similarities to ZYKLON’s swansong, Disintegrate. However, the distinguishing characteristics of THE WRETCHED END include more of his unique melodic style, a larger dose of brutal thrash sounds (i.e. classic SLAYER, SEPULTURA), and a more brooding, apocalyptic tone overall.

There are plenty of great tracks to be found on Ominous that make a strong impact. The first two songs, “Intro” and “Red Forest Alienation,” drop like a bomb as the band announce their arrival with a multi-armed tour de force. Songs like “The Armaggedonist” proudly update Norwegian black metal for 2010. “Numbered Days” is ominous as hell with its desolate feel and sinister horns. “Fleshbomb” and “Human Corporation” are just killer tracks with an unrelenting pace and nonstop catchy riffs.

Last but not least, the lyrics on Ominous are not to be ignored. Based on current events and looking at the world and society from a more global standpoint, there are plenty of impending crises that mankind would be smart to take heed of.

THE WRETCHED END’s Ominous is a strong and ambitious debut that aims at being the best metal album that it can possibly be. With a strong foundation laid, the future is theirs. (Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records)

Norway’s THE WRETCHED END Post New E-Card for Ominous

THE WRETCHED END, the new Scandinavian group comprised of Samoth (ZYKLON, EMPEROR, SCUM), Cosmo (MINDGRINDER, SCUM, SOURCE OF TIDE), and Nils Fjellström (IN BATTLE, AEON), have posted an e-card promoting their debut album, Ominous. Check it out here.

Ominous is scheduled for release on October 25th worldwide through Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records. The official iTunes EP will be available October 4th.

AEON – Path of Fire

After a promising start by releasing their debut album on the brutal label, Unique Leader, this no frills Swedish death metal band released their first major label album with Rise to Dominate – a stagnant and predictable album on Metal Blade Records. Like their fellow countrymen in DEFLESHED, a band that wants nothing to do with the Swedish Gothenburg sound, AEON’s goal is to sound like their U.S. death metal counterparts instead.

Immediately, AEON takes no prisoners with “Forgiveness Denied,” with CANNIBAL CORPSE as a huge and obvious influence in the song structure and drumming. Once again, AEON continues to hammer the same old, and somewhat cheesy anti-Christian lyrics, along with very average death metal vocals. This time around however, the musicianship has vastly improved, with a few nice guitar licks and more intense drumming being displayed. With a few SUFFOCATION mosh riffs and quick NECROPHAGIST style arpeggios thrown in, “Kill Them All” and “Inheritance” says that while the band can be seen as a one trick pony, they are at least improving at their craft.

Total Kristus Inversus” is an acoustic interlude with a Middle Eastern vibe, which breaks up the monotony of all the brutality, and actually fits nicely as a precursor to “Of Fire.” As one of the best tracks on the album, “Of Fire,” provides an intense mix of keyboards in the background meshing with fast footwork and double bass, which as a result, sounds very MORBID ANGEL influenced. If the listener wasn’t aware of what album they were listening to, “I Will Burn” and “Suffer The Soul” could be mistaken as CANNIBAL CORPSE tracks, as the low/high vocals replicates Corpsegrinder’s style mixed with the pinch harmonics as perfected by CANNIBAL axeman Pat O’Brien. “Liar in the Name of God” has a solo that NECROPHAGIST would be proud of, and chugs along towards the end. “God of War” rounds out the decent but bland disc, with a movie-like soundtrack sequence, similar to EX-DEO samples.

With AEON, no gimmicks are involved, as it’s no secret that these guys love CANNIBAL CORPSE, and like their heroes, AEON is no nonsense, straight forward death metal. Their song titles and lyrics can be juvenile at times, but Path of Fire shows maturity and better songwriting. While there is huge potential for this upcoming band, whether they evolve or release the same albums determines to be seen. (Metal Blade Records)

THE WRETCHED END Signs to Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records

The Wretched EndTHE WRETCHED END, the new band featuring Samoth (ZYKLON, EMPEROR, SCUM), Cosmo (MINDGRINDER, SCUM), and Nils Fjellström (IN BATTLE, DARK FUNERAL, AEON), have announced their signing to Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records.

THE WRETCHED END was formed in 2008 as creative collaboration between Samoth and Cosmo. Samoth and Cosmo have previously worked together on the infamous deathpunk project SCUM. Cosmo has also played with ZYKLON on bass when the band toured Europe as special guest for MORBID ANGEL in 2001. The two have long spoken about collaborating on an extreme metal project. Most of the material for the debut album was composed throughout 2008, and by spring 2009 a full pre-production consisting of 11 tracks was recorded.

In the summer of 2009, Swede Nils Fjellström was confirmed as the drummer. The drums were successfully recorded in Strand Studio, Oslo, September 2009. The album recording continued through the end of 2009 and was completed in the first half of 2010. The recording line-up consists of Samoth on lead and rhythm guitar, Cosmo on lead and rhythm guitar, bass and vocals and Nils Fjellström on drums.

The debut album, tentatively entitled Ominous, will be released through Samoth’s own imprint label, Nocturnal Art Productions and marketed and distributed worldwide by Candlelight Records. Album tracks include “Zoo Human Syndrome,” “Red Forest Alienation,” “Residing in Limbo,” “Human Corporation,” “Numbered Days,” “Of Men and Wolves,” “The Juggernaut Theory,” “Fleshbomb,” “The Armageddonist,” “With Ravenous Hunger” and “Last Judgement.” The album is scheduled for release fall 2010.

THE WRETCHED END can musically best be described as a “Deathrash,” taking elements from both Death Metal and Thrash Metal. Many of the songs are quite groove orientated, and also offer a melodic side. Influences range from old-school to a more modern Death/Thrash metal sound.

AEON – Rise to Dominate

AEON‘s Rise to Dominate is only the band’s second album due to the unfortunate drawbacks of several label and lineup changes throughout the band’s near ten year existence. Hailing from Sweden but bearing little resemblance to fellow countrymen GRAVE or DISMEMBER, AEON‘s influence owes more to American death metal with MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE, and MALEVOLENT CREATION serving as obvious reference points. Lyrically, the band makes no bones about their vehement hatred towards Jesus, god, and all things Christian and holy, as titles such as “Godless” and “Living Sin” make that point crystal clear. The sound on Rise to Dominate is punchy and in-your-face, and EDGE OF SANITY‘s Dan Swano does a commendable job of capturing the band’s anti-Christian conviction on disc. Lead shredder Zeb Nillson also provides many of the album’s highlights with his solos on the aforementioned tracks. “Caressed by the Holy Man” and “Luke 4:57” display the band’s catchiest and most effective material, with both songs delivering, a driving, crushing groove sure to send the holy running for cover. If there’s any downside to Rise to Dominate, it’s originality as there are times when the band veers a little to close to their idols for comfort. “You are Nothing” and “No One Escapes Us” are practically remakes of MORBID ANGEL‘s “Where the Slime Lives” and “Hatework.” But AEON has nonetheless come a long way in establishing themselves as contenders in the world of death metal, making up for lack of originality with heapings of conviction and precision. It ends up resulting in the perfect album title as the band continues their Rise to Dominate. (Metal Blade Records)