Reviewed: May 2020
Released: 2020, Willowtip Records
In order to whet the appetite of any listener wanting to increase their intake of aural brutality, Kansas death metallers Unmerciful describe Wrath Encompassed as their “angriest and most destructive album to date.”
It’s their third full length recording, and their first released in collaboration with Pennsylvanian metal label Willowtip Records. Clearly proud of the nine songs presented here, guitarist Clinton Appelhanz adopts a tone of exultant glee as he promises the album to be a “celebration of suffering.” To be fair, it’s difficult to expect anything less when a quick glance at the track-list reveals song titles such as Blazing Hatred, Carnage Unleashed and The Stench Of Fear.
The cynical among you will be at the back of the room with your arms tightly folded as you wait for the musicians to put their money where their mouth is. The wait won’t be a long one.
Pushing play triggers exactly fourteen seconds of atmospheric crackle before the whole thing accelerates into a barrage of blast-beats and tortured noise. There’s an impressive emphasis on technical prowess as each riff is delivered with staccato precision and tightly wound into the album’s pummelling low end.
It all provides enough thrust to bear the weight of a formidable vocal performance from Joshua Riley (ably supported by his band-mates, who add some extra snap with additional growls and aggression).
To put it simply, Wrath Encompassed is an impressive record that requires little to be written about it. It falls into the category of having one job to do, which it achieves very well. It doesn’t offer much in the way of variety and it’s not necessarily a record that will bring new fans to the genre, but it makes up for this with deliciously impressive musical chops and sheer, focused aggression. Guitars churn and wail; solos are short, sharp and cut through the otherwise dense cacophony with moments of scattershot violence.
Trynt Kelly in particular, impresses with a powerful and energised performance behind the kit. With that being said, it feels important to add that each musician here is firing at the top of their game to invigorating ends.
All in all, if you like heavy, uncomplicated aggression, put this on, turn it up and bathe in a hurricane of catharsis.