So Wraiths call themselves “hell metal,” and despite the unreliable nature of most self-applied monikers this is actually pretty god damn apt. I would be tempted to substitute “hardcore” for metal, but when it’s this heavy and bruising that’s me just mincing words and being a genre-humping elitist douche. While they’re from the UK, Wraiths’ sound exists somewhere in the combined headspace of Travis Bickle and Richard Ramirez, mixing the horrors of urban isolation and suicidal Satanism in a bucket of bleach, ammonia, and goat blood, resulting in lethal fumes and grotesque hallucinations.
Their 5 song EP is completely dedicated to creating a mood of total hopelessness. These songs are the sounds of life hitting a dead end. If you’re looking for music that soars across the whole kingdom of emotion you’re in the wrong neighborhood, pal. There’s no triumph or love or positivity here, just riffs that are down-tuned, punishing, and blackened with gutter grime. A lot of the credit for the convincing unpleasantness can be attributed to Rae Robinson’s chilling roar, which seems genuinely tortured and resembles Sammy Duet’s supporting vocal work from Acid Bath/Goatwhore when he reaches into the higher registers.
Outside of crust punk bursts in “Black Vultures” and “Monolith,” most of the EP lurches forward at a mid-tempo stomp, a pace matching the somber tone crafted throughout. Despite the overwhelming bleakness there’s still a lot of texture here, from the gang-shouting on “Pyramid Head” to an audio clip from Devil’s Rejects that confirms that Wraiths’ music is here to do the devil’s work. Oh, I should also mention that this may qualify as a concept album, as it seems to follow the same character’s descent into violent vengeance as he pursues a future, following his likely suicide, as a demon in Satan’s horde. Maybe I’m incorrectly analyzing the lyrics, but I have a feeling when the words “I can’t wait to fucking die” are screamed over a sledgehammer of distortion it’s entirely literal. I guess it’s possible he means “die” in the Shakespearean way, as in having a totally killer orgasm, but this EP seems to enjoy shouting fuck more than actually fucking. What can I say, depression sucks.
But these songs, despite their themes, will push depression aside and invigorate fans of loud, ugly music. Nothing makes you want to punch God right in his/her/its face more than Wraiths’ bludgeoning attack. This is another raw, uncompromising release from Witch Hunter Records for any fan of music with a black heart and a mean streak. Also, it looks like they borrowed Slayer’s logo for a little while, with promises to return it as good as new. But after hearing this EP I know that when they give it back it will be burnt like a Norwegian church, slick with new blood, and stink like an unearthed prostitute. Such is the danger when making logo-swap deals with Wraiths.
Listen to this nasty slab of hell metal over yonder: http://witchhunterrecords.bandcamp.com/album/wraiths-ep-2012
And “Join the Pre-Order” by grabbing one of these bad ass T-Shirt/Tape bundles: http://witchhunterrecords.bigcartel.com/product/wraiths-ep-2012-tape-t-shirt-pre-order