RSS Feed


Dark Lord (2013)
Rating: 8/10

It’s great to know that there are some cool up and coming UK bands from my home county of Kent. Wretched Soul hails from the historic city of Canterbury, and they’ve been in existence as a quartet since 2008. Veronica is their debut eight-track opus, and features the line-up of Chris Simmons (vocals), Steve Clifford (guitars), Luke Mayell (bass) and Andy Clifford (drums).

So, what does Wretched Soul offer? Well, first impressions are that this is a mature sounding platter which combines classic metal, modern dynamics and some great, aggressive death / thrash metal combinations. This is quite a surprising little record that shifts pace frequently, enabling the listener to become embroiled in this tangled web of speed metal guitars, ever-changing vocals and clinical drumming.

Album opener ‘Where Shadows Ride’ pretty much sums up the diverse sound of Wretched Soul, because although it comes screaming out of the blocks with blazing guitars, rambling drums and tumbling bass, the vocals immediately take you somewhere else. In the first instant Simmons offers a deathly rasp, but as the chorus rides in we’re treated to an almost classic metal, anthemic style of chant, all before the band lower themselves into a doomier cesspit of dark riffing.

It’s a compliment to Wretched Soul that their sound is one so hard to pin down. ‘Summon The Hunter’ comes crashing in with a fierce drum sound and raging, blackened guitar, but then resorts to a traditional metal gallop before those sinister throaty rasps introduce themselves, rasps that are nonetheless quickly cut short by an effective warrior roar.

It would certainly be an idiot who attempts to classify the sound of Wretched Soul; the title track boasts a fantastic complex drum sound and Sebastian Bach-styled soaring vocal, and yet despite the modern feel we’re then transported to an earthier void of slower, meandering guitars, and then deathly grunts.

The title track is by far the most potent track on the record; a real catchy melody and tight musicianship allow it to flow like some river of black into the ears. It also features Simmons’ best vocal, although the sordid chugs of ‘Black Wings Of Treachery’ also showcase Simmons’ diversity amid a sea of grating riffs and rapid-fire drums.

This is certainly the blackest track on the album and the vocals really do shred the eardrums, but for out and out metal melody one can’t beat the delightful strains of ‘The Unmaking’. Beginning as a traditional metal groove, ‘The Unmaking’ is completely contradicted by those nasty vocals, although again the combo are quick to slip into a second gear of epic-sounding rock.

Veronica is not just a treat as an album, but as a live spectacle the diversity of this composition should attract a decent fan base. Hats off to Wretched Soul for finally getting this opus out onto the racks because there aren’t many bands who can one moment echo that New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound and then the next churn out vicious, rasping death thrash before injecting a dose of modern metal. A very impressive work from an extremely talented bunch.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories