A cannibal is one who partakes in the pleasures of the flesh in a literal sense. Cannibals are usually born into cultures that have been practicing cannibalism for centuries upon centuries. It’s all they know, and likely all they ever will know. Wretched have aptly named their album Cannibal because it’s what they are musically. They will devour all that stands in their way, regardless of species. They also have to be constantly at the top of their game, lest they be eaten themselves by bands just as hungry as they are.
Wretched don’t like to play with their food, and that’s shown immediately in the opener ‘Gold Above Me’. The thick guitar tone cuts through the silence, and heralds the bands arrival. The drums get your heart racing, and when the vocals enter, the race begins. From here on out, it’s a flurry of technical riffing, hard-hitting drum work and raspy screams. These songs aren’t just mish-mashes of all those elements, though. These songs are calculated, but by no means cold in their execution. Often times in technicality, the human element gets lost and turns into “Hey, look what I can do.” Never once does that occur in Cannibal. Though the songs are well-composed and played, it is all still very human.
Songs like ‘Morsel’, ‘Cranial Infestation’ and ‘To the Flies’ are excellent examples of all the elements from the intro, combined with the band’s keen sense of melody. The melodic sections are usually found in the guitar solos, which the band has more than a few of on this record. That’s not to say that breakdowns are lacking, as there are a couple of great ones on this record, but it’s nice to hear a great guitar solo every once in awhile. Defying this rule is a very unsettling melody in the track ‘L’appel du Vide’ (‘The Call of the Void’ in French) that acts as an excellent bridge between the first and second halves of this album.
The mother of all melody on this record, however, is the seven minute and a half title track, ‘Cannibal’. The band goes from vicious breakdown to beautiful melody and back again in mere moments, and when they make the switch, it’s akin to drinking the nectar of the head-nodding gods. It’s not just the switch-ups that make this satisfying, either. It’s a very complete piece that tells you who the band is and what they’re capable of in one track. The only problem with this piece, is that it breaks the flow that the album establishes with the seven previous tracks. It really belongs as the very last song on the album; the story you save until the very end of the night, just because it’s that riveting of a tale.
Cannibal is a record that is ruthless, gripping and unhesitating in engulfing listeners in its path to feed. Though it may stumble on that path for a moment, there is no doubt that it is still coming to rend the delicious flesh from your bones. Its unstoppable quality and visceral dedication to melody grants undeniable strength and verve.
Wretched – Cannibal Gets…