WRETCH have been one of the best-hidden secrets of Ohio’s metal scene with a lot of underground action and a fairly earned reputation. The band has been quite active during the recent years, releasing a series of powerful albums via Pure Steel Records and doing their thing without regret.
So here we are with the band’s fourth full-length album only a year after the very successful “The Hunt”. Apparently, the band wants to take advantage of the momentum and keep its name relevant since it’s been only a couple of months from the re-release of their debut album (under a brand new cover).
Anyway, the band stays on track with the sound they introduced with “The Hunt”. Not that it goes astray from their rough debut but it’s more melodic, closer to power metal and embodied with the Dickinson-sque voice of Juan Ricardo.
The band seems to have adjusted their songwriting towards this kind of vocals, something which is OK with me since they do it very well. Songs like “Man or Machine” or “Destroyer of Worlds” do remind us of the bands early days, while songs like “Schwarzenberg” and “Strike Force One” (what a title, love it!) dwell dangerously into the Europower scene. “Requiem Aeternam” is another interesting song both powerful and melodic with interesting tempo changes and the “Inquisition trilogy” climaxes the album perfectly.
What is interesting with Wretch is that the band draws influences from the classics IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST (there is a cover of “Steeler” as well) but they add lots of HELSTAR, VICIOUS RUMORS and METAL CHURCH influences in the riffing part while both the leads and the soling sound closer to the neoclassical scene. Indeed the album does have lots of melodies reminiscent of bands like AXEL RUDI PELL, SILVER MOUNTAIN, MALMSTEEN (for example listen to “Castle Black”) early EUROPE or STRATOVARIUS but fears not the band hasn’t turned into euro-power. They simply made their sound less rough, a little more polished but still edgy, still heavy and with a neverending underground attitude.
Overall the album is fun to listen, it has lots of great moments and it’s a step forward for a band that shows lots of potentials.