If I had my way with this review, it would be very short and simple as all I would say is simply “buy it!”, however, I think I would receive a punishment exercise from the team if I had done that. Redefining Darkness is a record label based in Cleveland, USA and they have unearthed a band that if they were around at the beginning of the death metal boom in the late 80s and early 90s, I am sure they would have been huge. Times have changed and the days of record sales are long gone, however, if Wretched Fate were alive back in the heyday, they would certainly be right up there with the big boys.
Wretched Fate have released an album with twelve songs of incredible death metal. Since receiving the promo from Thomas at Redefining Darkness, this has been on constant repeat without the requirement of fast forwarding a song as each of these twelve tracks have stunning musicianship and something for everybody.
As much as some of us old-timers wish for the old days of tape trading and word of mouth, today you cannot deny the power of social media in spreading the word of a band and it is here where I found out about Wretched Fate. A friend, Mike Alexander of the hugely powerful and talented Imperium, posted a song from Wretched Fate called “Only Death to Abide” and that got me hooked. Wretched Fate are a bunch of Swedish death metal maniacs but rather than sound like Entombed or Dismember, I find them more akin to mid-period Bloodbath which is always a plus in my books. Wretched Fate know how to structure songs, making the listener want more and to listen to the album repeatedly which is certainly the case with myself. The timings of blast beats, the intricate riffs throughout the album and musicianship that surpasses the three years of the band with their debut album that is Fleshletting.
There is more to this than Swedish death metal worship even as early as the self-titled opener “Wretched Fate”. Yes, there are hints of Bloodbath throughout but there is American influenced riffs and blast beats ala Morbid Angel. Vocalist Adrian Selmani has a growl that is almost coherent but deathly enough to please the old and new school death metal fan and can be likened to Mikael Akerfeldt which is a plus in my book. The guitars from Mats Andersson have THAT guitar sound that I love and crave and has plenty of nice touches to add to the structure of the songs with intricate leads, melodies and touches of classic heavy metal.
Picking highlights of the album was difficult as each and every song had something in it that pleased me and no doubt countless others. What Wretched Fate do, and do well, is with structuring the song so that one minute you are grinning from ear to ear head banging with the groove then you’re jumping into the pit when the blast beats start. Wretched Fate know when to mix the speed elements up and show this throughout the album making this the top release for me this year. “Hived Mind” is probably the closest that you are going to get to Bloodbath as you will ever get, especially around the chorus but the eerie technical riffs from Mats around this time of the song is superb. “Only Death to Abide” with its mid-paced drums and groove, “Taker of Souls” which as the title suggests is one for the chaotic and blast beat driven among you. Wretched Fate also use horror orchestration to build yet another layer to the song, for example, towards the end of “Altars of Misery”, the beginning and ending of title track “Fleshletting” which not quite as heavy as Septic Flesh per se, it certainly adds atmosphere and strength to the song.
I could write that every song is worth listening to and it really is. Releasing an album of twelve tracks that lasts an hour would raise alarm bells amongst you, however, I can categorically state that this album has been on repeat on many occasions without having the need to skip onto the next track. Mixed and produced by Mats himself, he has certainly done a sterling job to make sure that all the layers within each song have been given their air time. Hard to believe that this was a two-man “fun” project that just wanted to show their appreciation of the scene their country helped to create. Now a full-time band with four members, this will not be the last we hear of Wretched Fate. I don’t care about originality – if music pleases me and urges me to press the repeat button as often as this album has, then I will do my damnedest to spread the word about this band. Rest assured, I will be spreading the word about Wretched Fate and Fleshletting.
Fleshletting is out now