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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review: Wrathful – Open Chest

Label: Darzamadicus Records

Date: February 15th, 2020

Here’s an unlikely match for you. Match made in hell, as far as the metal community is concerned. And yet another proof all the borders are just man made lines on the map.

Could you imagine thirty years ago that a band from Venezuela would find a label in Macedonia? No way! Venezuela seemed as close as Mars, at least looking from the Balkans. Nowadays, it might not seem so difficult to achieve. Thus, we have the debut full length record from Wrathful, a relatively new offspring of Venezuelan underground.

Now, everybody familiar with Darzamadicus Records might already know what this release is all about. Majority of releases from this Macedonian label are closely related to death metal. This one too.

Wrathful is dwelling on the old school ground of the genre. Mostly influenced by the US legends. Sort of surprising from a band coming from such a rich continent as South America is, at least with regards to death metal stylistics. Still, these guys draw inspiration from the north. You will be able to name the bands yourself easily, upon a single listening session.

“Open Chest” utilizes what might be referred to as thoughtful brutality. The band doesn’t strive for overexposed technicality, though they are obviously skilled musicians. It would seem as if they are even more skilled composers. Wrathful were able to create moving tracks by thinking through their arrangements much more than individual pieces of songs.

Their riffs carry more than enough brutality within. Also, they do not put an enormous focus on speed. Tempos are fairly diverse, even within the same song. This way Wrathful manage to glide you through the tracks without losing concentration. At times, the songs also appear to be quite catchy. Not often unfortunately, but there are moments when you can really feel that Venezuelans know how to present a memorable piece of death metal. “The Art of Butchery”, or the title track, for instance.

There is one thing I must note, as it’s eating me inside each time I spin this CD. It’s the solos which adorn every track. They sound as if recorded in a cave. A whole lot of echoing make them seem like parts of separate recording session. In an overall clear and insanely heavy sounding record they stand apart. And not in a good way.

Like I said, “Open Chest” resides on the old school ground. There’s not much on the record that screams innovation. Some fresh ideas, however, are present. Not enough to separate Wrathful from the multitude of similar acts, but enough to show the potential for a bright future.

Furthermore, this is a young band. Obviously, there is much to learn, experience and possibly avoid on the next records. Still, “Open Chest” remains an honest piece of death metal that should satisfy those infatuated with such. Not outstanding, but far, far away from bad.