A Grand Departure

June 22, 2015


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Dystrophy: a disorder in which an organ or tissue of the body wastes away. Wretched Host is the soundtrack to organic collapse and liquifying organs. A celebration of rot and decay. When I get depressed about aging, this is the sonic equivalent of those thoughts. The electric violin that bookends the album is a nice touch, but it seems only to serve as contrast with the overall ugliness contained between.

But don't equate “ugly” with simple: Wretched Host has a lot going on under its cracked hide. There is a proggy Meshuggah feel at times, but with purposefully less fluid arrangements. Riffs and rhythms bash into eachother like waves in a storm. This is brutal, technical death trudging through a doomy swamp...of doom. Doomed meets Gigan, if you will. Everything about the sound is so deep and sickening. But rather than having a cavernous, blackened aesthetic; Dystrophy sounds like Cthulu emerging from a stagnant bog.

Some of these guitar parts sound like the strings are being hit with a hammer. "Singularity" alternates between these beatings and ominous, effects-filled hooks before erupting into a killer solo. The vocals, on the other hand, are steadfast in their worship of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel. And the pacing is maniacal. The Ulcerate-like drumming may pick up to a total grind only to screech to a sludgy halt for tracks like "Exoparasite."

On a final note, If you were expecting more death-infused thrash metal from the previous album, I encourage you to re-evaluate your expectations. I promise you, it's for the best. Who wants a slew of repeat performances anyways? Dystrophy have dialed down the speed here in favor of something a bit more nuanced. Mainstream riffs and BTBAM-sounding harsh vocals have been traded for a heavier dose of death and doom. The drastic style is best explained by band guitarist, Peter Lloyd:

“Our first album was a collection of songs written between 2007-2010, with an influence ranging from bands such as Death, Iced Earth, and Sepultura. After Chains of Hypocrisy came out, I really started getting into more progressive / avant garde bands, such as Gorguts, Atheist, Martyr, Voivod, and Deathspell Omega. We released a split in 2012 that featured three songs more in line as to what the sound of the band would become. For the songwriting of Wretched Host, I wanted to combine the dissonant / jazz phrasings of Gorguts and Voivod with the raw tenacity and aggression of New Jersey bands like Ripping Corpse, Humans Remains and Damonacy. Listening back to Chains these days, I can't even tell it's the same band that wrote and recorded it - it certainly feels like a lifetime ago!”

All of this adds up to something that I was quick to add to my collection. Always on the hunt for music that is both unique and well-constructed, Wretched Host fits both of those criteria. While there are aspects similar to everything from Portal to Vermin Womb; the end result is quite unlike anything else in my library. You can will stream this monstrosity on bandcamp and take it home for $7.

- Review by FlightOfIcarus

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