Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wretch - Wretch

By Karen A. Mann. When Jason McCash of Indianapolis doom legends Gates of Slumber died a few years ago, his bandmate and longtime friend Karl Simon knew that he had to create new music to both honor McCash’s memory and effectively process his own grief. The result is a new band, Wretch, and an eponymous debut
By Karen A. Mann

Cover art by Branca Studio

When Jason McCash of Indianapolis doom legends Gates of Slumber died a few years ago, his bandmate and longtime friend Karl Simon knew that he had to create new music to both honor McCash’s memory and effectively process his own grief. The result is a new band, Wretch, and an eponymous debut (out now on Bad Omen Records) that feels almost overwhelmingly gloomy and visceral in its pain while continuing down Gates of Slumber’s Godforsakenly doomy path.

The album opens with “Running Out of Days,” which begins with a squalling guitar, out of which a heavy grooving riff forms. Recalling the chilling, warning tone of Black Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom,” Simon sings about losing ground, images slipping away, and finally about “a sad song sung again, the needle stole away my friend.”

Photos by Carmelo Española.

The rest of Wretch is equally grief-stricken and confessional, while musically mining old school doom and heavy rock for inspiration. They even include an inspired cover of the early Judas Priest gem “Winter.” Even when Simon isn’t singing, you can feel his sadness, as in the delicate instrumental “Grey Cast Mourning.”

Wretch is at their best when they go full bore with the riffage, which they do magnificently on the Obsessed-inspired “Icebound.” The album ends appropriate with the lumbering, dirgelike “Drown,” which also features some of Simon’s most despairing lyrics.

Promises that I made were lies, all lies, and the hopes that I had died, they all died,” Simon sings. “Waves that pull me under, I’m going to drown.”

Such raw emotional honesty, coupled with that heavy groove makes Wretch one of the most promising debuts of the year.



Tagged with 2016, Bad Omen Records, Carmelo Española, doom metal, Karen A. Mann, Wretch
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