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Enwretch – Sermon of the Dead

Enwretch
Sermon of the Dead
by Andrew Graham at 16 October 2020, 4:49 PM

Side-project of COFFIN MULCH’S David McLellan, ENWRETCH serves up a tantalising appetiser of death ‘n’ roll in the very finest tradition of the genre. Their two-track “Sermon of the Dead” demo promises very good things indeed from a musician already carving out a bloody niche for himself. If an album is to follow, I have a real cracker to look forward to!

It would be somewhat inaccurate to term this offering death metal in the purest sense (trying not to aggravate the hardcore genre nerds – of which I am one – or those less concerned about hard divides between genres. What sets this uniquely apart from classic death metal archetypes is the slower pace (particularly in the drums) and the guitar tone (weirdly specific eh?) which has a very strong, muddy sludge quality about it. In many ways one is reminded of ENTOMBED’S “Wolverine Blues” period (hence the choice of death ‘n’ roll moniker, and I’m sticking with it!) That is not to say this is merely derivative, what is on display here is wholly original, superbly executed and – perhaps most importantly – a legitimately compulsive head-banger!

The demo opens with “Vile Congregation”, in which the listener is beautifully bludgeoned with palm-muted chords that open the track. A faster bridge passage follows, after which we begin our helpless rhythmic nodding to a very punky drumming style (that’s the sludge influence there, and the demo is replete with it!) The style, I have to say, is one of my favourites and it plays a big part in what makes this demo so relentlessly listenable.

“Anthropophagy” follows and immediately assaults the ears in the most satisfying way possible! There is a wonderful blending of the punk drumming mentioned above and more conventional styles one would expect of death metal’s very best. All the while we are treated with chugging chords so heavy, they threaten to drop through the floor and wreck the basement, and oppressive tremolo sections that leave the listener gasping for air! There is groovy solo work on display as well, showing that David really can deliver the goods!

The production is of a very high quality, with chunky guitars assaulting the ears and filling the field so fully that it seems implausible how anything else would have room to show itself! The bass is clearly registered in a treble-y rumbling that would make Alex Webster proud! The drums are especially well done, punching clear through the sludgy wall created in both ears by the guitars. David finds an innovative solution to the issue of making his vocals heard through an already crowded room. His voice echoes and reverberates as if uttered in a distant hall in a castle somewhere, which actually fits nicely in with the rest of the mix (I dare say the vocals would be lost otherwise, were they not permitted to linger and resonate in this way.) This unfortunately makes lyrics indecipherable, though this is hardly an issue unique to this particular act!

Altogether this is a thoroughly worthy offering (to the metal gods?) that demands attention. If an album in the vein of this demo is forthcoming then there’s a real stomper in the works, worthy of the very finest acts in the long and distinguished tradition of death ‘n’ roll!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Vile Congregation
  2. Anthropophagy
Lineup:
David McLennan – Drums, guitars and vocals
Tommy – Session Bass
Record Label: Redefining Darkness Records
     


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