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)