WOUND - Engrained (F.D.A. Records CD 2017)
Half a year since the release of Wound's second album "Engrained" I finally decided to give it a chance. I wasn't hurrying my ass, to be honest I wasn't even expecting much from this album, mainly because I think that the debut full length "Inhale the Void" was pretty mediocre. A small light in the darkness came with the song from "Souls of Eternal Damnation" split 7"EP (with Obscure Infinity), which I liked a lot. And now "Engrained" is out and well, I have to say that this is fantastic album and it does sound better than I expected. Which is a nice surprise of corpse!
Wound's "Engrained" should be a must to have for all fans of melodic death metal from Sweden. I am sure than such names like At the Gates, early In Flames or some little less remembered death / black acts like Gates of Ishtar, Hypocrite, Unanimated, Ablaze My Sorrow or A Canorous Quintet will appear in many reviews as comparisons. And they are right, I think, because Wound performs very alike type of melodic death / black metal. Presence of the Swedish vibe is obvious here, not only with the melodic parts, but even with the D-beat stuff, which Wound comes with quite often, and with the screaming vocals. The production is a thing, which some will discuss, I am sure. "Engrained" sounds really heavy and surprisingly raw, it's like Wound wanted to get rid of the typical death metal sound and swap it for darker and colder production. For me it is a bonus, because I would never want such album to have too polished and digitalized sound.
The problem, which I often have with melodic death metal is that too often it sounds just too soft, not aggressive enough. Another thing is that it gets boring after a while. No such problems with "Engrained", which is good news for me. Even though the album is 45 minutes long, there's enough of good to keep me interested and definitely the melodic part doesn't make the music sound weak and soft. These riffs and melodies can be catchy and memorable, but the music sounds pissed off and savage anyway. Wound picked up enough of vicious and aggressive parts to make me happy. The music gives me a nice kick especially in the blasting parts (and there are quite many of them), when it truly has a grim, violent manner and gets even close to black metal ( the good old No Fashion releases from the late 90's). I am particularly glad to hear these fast parts, because it's not often, when we can find a band, which would remind all these Swedish classics like , A Canorous Quintet, even Ceremonial Oath... Even the vocals are a mixture of growls and nasty screams. Anyway, there's a good balance between the melodic parts and the ferocious stuff and from start to finish the music sounds interesting. I sincerely enjoyed it all, melodic songs like "Morbid Paradigm" and pissed off, vicious outbursts like "The Gateways to Madness". Very good listen, very recommended release and a positive surprise from Wound. Well done.
Standout tracks: "I am Havoc", "Morbid Paradigm", "Of Non " , "Engrained"
Final rate: 75/100