Unearth - The Wretched; The Ruinous (Century Media)
In the early 2000s, the heavy metal world was in a rather curious state of affairs. Nu-metal was still arguably the biggest sub-genre on the scene, though the extreme metal community continued to flourish in the underground, but something else was forming on the horizon. So began the great expansion of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM) movement, a time when legions of exciting bands came forth, blending hardcore, thrash metal, death metal, and adding their own unique spin with seminal albums released between 2002 and 2008.
While bands hailed from all over the United States, the state of Massachusetts, the Boston-Worcester scene in particular, produced some of the finest bands of the movement. Among them was a band that has produced one crushing album after the next since 1998, known to all as Unearth. After waiting nearly five years, fans worldwide are more than ready for the band's eighth album, The Wretched; The Ruinous.
Opening with a song sure to move masses within second, the title track is a stellar example of all the styles and tones Unearth has forged over the last twenty five years. Impeccable guitar harmonies, soaring solos, pummeling bass, and punishing drums, all topped by the roar of vocalist Trevor Phipps. It is no wonder that this song was featured on DJ Jose "Metal Ambassador" Mangin's 'Devil's Dozen' list and is on heavy rotation on Sirius XM Liquid Metal.
While many metalcore bands have taken influence from Unearth, from song arrangement to breakdowns, tracks such as "Eradicator" and "Mother Betrayal" are testaments to why no one does it like Unearth does. For long time fans, tracks such as "Invictus", "Aniara", and "Into the Abyss" are certainly reminiscent of 2004's The Oncoming Storm, though refined and perfected in the years since 'the storm'.
Never shying away from difficult subjects, the band reflects on climate crisis, wars, and nuclear warfare with "Dawn of the Militant", a thrashing number sure to turn crowds into human whirlpools as circle pits kick off. Continuing on this theme, closer "Theaters of War" is neck straining track ending with a breakdown guaranteed to leave venues barely in tact by the end of the night.
The Metal Mayan review:
For a number of guitar players my age, many were inspired to pick up a seven string after they discovered Korn. While I certainly enjoyed their music, after seeing Unearth at Ozzfest 2004 and hearing what could be done on that instrument, my teenage self simply had to have one. And with that in mind, it's no secret that The Oncoming Storm is one of my favorite albums of all time.
I can't stress enough how much fans are going to have to brace themselves for the title track, "The Wretched; The Ruinous", the opening is nothing short of a car bomb of metal goodness. Likewise, I expect nothing short of a battlefield for "Mother Betrayal" and "Into the Abyss" if they make an appearance on the setlist.
At this point in my life, I am fortunate to own several beautiful seven string guitars, and this album is certainly going to make me get back to practicing like I did nearly twenty years ago.
Pick up The Wretched; The Ruinous, out now on Century Media, and catch Unearth on tour in U.S. and Canada with Upon A Burning Body and 156/Silence (May 04 - May 19) and The Halo Effect and High Command (May 20 - May 28)
Advanced copy courtesy of Adrenaline PR and Century Media Records