The back story for this first LP by Wretch is that lead vocalist and guitarist Karl Simon lost his good friend and bandmate Jason McCash. The resulting LP, with lyrics steeped in agony and loss, makes for ruminating doom complete with fuzzy tones and driving riffs. While it is indeed an album with its sights on dour material, the guitars are surprisingly upbeat, with a tempo that avoids funeral dirge and instead goes in for Sabbathian riffing.

The result is an album that feels less like an exercise in navel-gazing and more like pouring a cold drink on the pavement for a lost friend. Except with more skulls and candles and dark forests in that equation. Wretch is a power-trio, as their bio purports, and I can’t help but agree – at no point does the material feel like it’s waning or moving past the point of enjoyment, but instead keeps its finger right on the pulse.

While it’s not exactly a doom album, it would be hard to argue that it isn’t. Though my first argument for the latter would be pointing towards the psychedelic riffage on songs like “Bloodfinger”, it’s also in keeping with an album that doesn’t try to be so abrasive as to be crushing (or exhausting for that matter). It instead creates an ambience of a time when rock and roll and metal were one and the same, and both were dangerous. It’s a refreshing take on the genre, and it’s execution is flawless. And while the strength may be in the album as a whole rather than particular tracks, for most people pursuing this genre today, that’s a strength and not a weakness.

Wretch Track Listing:

01. Running Out Of Days
02. Rest In Peace
03. Bloodfinger
04. Winter
05. Icebound
06. Grey Cast Mourning
07. Drown

Run Time: 33:10
Release Date: August 26, 2016

Check out the song “Rest In Peace”