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North Carolina metal quintet Wretched implements numerous musical curveballs into their modern extreme metal template on their sophomore effort BEYOND THE GATE. This 12-track Jamie King-produced endeavor contains all of the elements you’d expect from one of King’s forward thinking metal acts, yet this troupe goes further than expected with their version of what a merciless metallic assault should represent. Containing a bounty of updated Gothenburg flavored melody with an abundance of technical shredding (“Part II: Beyond the Gate”) that stand a cut above the norm, Wretched’s six-string sting bursts with character yet doesn’t deter the bonecrushing rhythmic movements from achieving maximum impact. While this squad’s overall presentation is impressive, it’s the little things like the orchestral interlude “Horizon”, the use of instruments such as sitar and didgeridoo and their jarring stylistic shakeups from skullbashing metal to dreamy melancholy within their bruising framework which ultimately sets this band light years ahead of their mallcore peers and worth a multitude of spins.
- Mike SOS