The origins of Cleveland's Wretch go back to the glory days of classic heavy metal in the Eighties, and so does their original demise. LA was calling and the beguiling siren of a record label deal. But, alas, as so many bands have found, the LA record industry is a bitch, posing as a slut, clothed in the slippery deceit of a street prositute. Wretch dissolved and remained dormant until the early 2000's when they resurrected and recorded their first long player Reborn in 2006. A compilation and EP later, Wretch offers Warriors, their second album and the first with Germany's Pure Steel Records.
As with their history, Wretch's music is influenced by Eighties heavy metal, from Maiden and Priest to Dio, Sabbath and Helloween. They work from a traditional metal motif of twin guitars and clean vocals over sturdy, often galloping, rhythm section, with everything wrapped in melody and harmony. Being 'true' metal aficionados, Wretch eschews modern conventions harshness, hardcore, or dirty vocals. In other words, for Wretch everyday is 'throwback' Thursday.
While their formula is at once typical, even sometimes redundant, for the genre, there are some real glimmers of interest across this album. Glimmers that should keep you listening as this is an unconventionally long album at nearly an hour. One thing to catch is the nice bass and drum play that starts The Ones, a song which incorporates a nice rock groove. Another is the persistent melodic guitar line that fills Sacrifice and leads to some spry solos over a steady rattling rhythm section.
Perhaps of greater intrerest is Wretch's integration of acoustic guitar in several places. The first comes at the end of Sleepless Dreams in a classical guitar fashion. Pretty sweet stuff. Another is at the midpoint of Death of Innocence, where it share spaces with the electric lead, with neither subduing the other. It's easily one of the best moments within Warriors, with the song probably being the best one here. You get a larger acoustic piece with In Those Eyes, which is largely Ron Emig's voice over some skilled acoustic guitar work. Another fine number, it shows the depth of Emig's vocals, which sometimes seemed supressed in the mix.
After this, and though I found their classic metal solid and entertaining, there is that certain familiar metal motif mentioned earlier. Possibly, slicing off a few songs would have lessened the seemingly inherent redundancy. But, regardless, for 'keep it true' classic American heavy metal, Wretch is the real deal and definitely worth your interest. Recommended.
For 'keep it true' classic American heavy metal, Wretch is the real deal and Warriors definitely requires your interest. Recommended.
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