After making a strong debut with Ominous, Norway’s THE WRETCHED END easily proved their worth. Now, with Inroads, the band have honed and focused their sophisticated, multi-dimensional style of extreme metal to a blacker, more desolate place. Everything from the classic album artwork to the atmospheres and overall sound possesses a distinctly Norwegian black metal undercurrent. However, this is not a rehashing of past victories. This is the band’s modern expression of Norwegian black metal fused with the other elements of their sound. The thrash elements of their sound make less of an appearance this time around.
Soon after Inroads begins, it’s clear that THE WRETCHED END have further defined their style with new sounds, vibes, and dynamics. Lead guitars are effectively, succinctly, and frequently used to add color. Norwegian black metal dissonance is utilized in riffs such as in “Tyrant of the Mountain” and “Deathtopian Society.” “Death by Nature” and “The Haunting Ground” have killer grooves. “Cold Iron Soul” constantly shifts tempos with the subtle, contrasting riffs that flow well together. THE WRETCHED END deliver the sense of ominous urgency with the run away train feel of “Fear Propaganda.”
In addition to the subtle complex song arrangements and sounds, the sheer spirit of Inroads is very reminiscent of the mighty EMPEROR. Indeed, THE WRETCHED END reach new heights as shown on the absolutely invincible, decadent melodies at the end of “Blackthorn Winter,” the powerful emotion of “Hunger,” and the total domination of closer “Throne Renowned of Old.”
While all the various dimensions of Inroads may not be readily discernible nor fully appreciated at first, it all comes out over time.
In an ever crowded and formulaic extreme metal scene, THE WRETCHED END easily distinguish themselves as one of the best. (Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records)