Wrvth – Wrath of Vesuvius (2015) – Wrvth are one of those bands that had me literally so confused that I wasn’t sure what to think about them. They play a mixture of several different moods and genres, some of which I can stomach and others of which I cannot, so you can imagine the sort of sweet and sour taste that was going through my ears at the time.
After giving the album yet another run-through, I seem to understand a little bit more about what I’m dealing with and will honestly put the sound of Wrvth closest to current-era Between The Buried And Me, with a little more modern black metal influence and some obvious segues into atmospheric mood music that sounds like it would play while you were on an elevator. There’s even a little Dillinger here too, but just in the amount of technical sporadity that I can discern from the guitar compositions and the drum play at hand.
Immediately the listener will notice that the screamy vocal approach used on the album is certainly not that of a standard black metal scowl and it clearly sounds core influenced in the manner that I’m not sure is completely tolerable for older heads. However, these guys certainly excel at two things: atmosphere and solos.
They manage to craft some rather fine atmospheres, especially on the instrumentals “Looming Sigils” and “Amber Glow.” But while the latter is indeed lounge or elevator music in a sense, it at least gives us a break from the constant caw of the frontman. If there’s anything that truly grates on my nerves, it’s this adolescent approach to vocals.
I understand that he’s trying to combine screamo with a harsher black metal influence, but after a while it just gets old. Perhaps I’m not the intended audience for this band, but I’d much rather prefer it to other modern acts with less talent and promise. Yes, you heard me right. There’s some promise to be had in this mess, but I think it’s still at a very early stage and evolution will need to take hold in order to give these guys a little more depth and allow the frontman to chill a little as the band play.
But how should I know? Maybe kids would like to scream along with this guy.
As I said, it’s a new sound for a new generation and I’m nearing my thirties, so it just doesn’t hit me quite as hard. I guess the kids will look at this as “the old man review” for the guy who didn’t grow up with YouTube or Let’s Plays. We also didn’t absorb these records like a slime gal absorbs semen. But this isn’t an excuse for me to put on my old tattered hat, hurl a cane and rock back and forth in my old chair whilst I patter on about the days of yore.
I’m quite certain that fans of Between The Buried And Me who also love screamo and hipster black metal approaches, as well as stargaze/shoegaze (whatever you want to call it) will fall head over heels in love with this odd offering. I’d be a damn fool to tell you that Wrvth had nothing to offer, but it’s just not an approach that I’d consider brilliant.
Nevertheless, it IS a step up from what we’ve been hearing in modern heavy metal these days and brings with it enough texture and melody to warrant a purchase. I’ll just put it this way: If I see you wearing a Wrvth T-shirt, I’m not going to mutter behind your back.
I feel that it’s a love/hate relationship, with both sides being at an equal quarrel. But that is much better than merely hating the band altogether.
(11 Tracks 70:00)