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The Wring – Project Cipher Award winner

The Wring
Project Cipher
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 July 2021, 9:36 AM

THE WRING is a Progressive Rock project formed in 2015 by guitarist Don Dewulf. The project started out in a band format with local musicians, and they released their debut album in 2017. After a series of live dates with ANVIL, DIAMOND HEAD, and DEAD DASIES, the band dissolved. A chance conversation with Mikael Akerfeldt inspired Dewulf to forge ahead with new material, reconnecting with bassist Jason Henrie and engaging world-renowned musicians to perform. “Project Cipher” contains seven tracks.

“The Light” opens the album. It opens with dark tones, harmonized guitars, and audible bass notes. The vocals are smooth, and easy listening. The meter shifts under the expert hands of the songwriters. It ends quite abruptly. “Sorceress” begins with more audible bass notes and some odd chord progressions. It moves with the 70’s vibe of old OPETH. Some spoken word comes into play, and the entire track is a bit murky. A choppy sequence opens up to the third chorus. The instruments are all over the place but organized.

“Cipher” begins in much the same way. This instrumental opens with some ominous tones, and that bass is spectacular, followed by some wonderful lead guitar notes…wow, Dewulf really has some skills. This song exudes energy in a fast-moving pace, and I for one am glad that the band decided to continue. “Steelier” has an intriguing groove to it…the kind of song that sucks you in and holds your attention. The instrumentation in particular is quite expertly done, while the vocals are as cool as the other side of the pillow. Another fantastic guitar solo is laid down, ending in some whammy bar pyro.

“Dissension” is a slower song, allowing the listener to take in a few deep breaths. The riff is more linear in nature, and the Progressive elements are dialed back a way. The abrupt endings are staring to become the norm. “Dose” is a shorter song, but with no fewer odd elements. The more linear nature of the song could easily be on the radio, though the Progressive elements are probably too strong for the public to easily digest. “Touch” closes the album, beginning with a slow, melancholy sound, reminding me of PINK FLOYD. It swings with confidence and swagger, with equal parts of accessible sounds and more odd Progressive elements. The balance here between the two is noteworthy.

I found this project quite interesting. Though most of the songs have a darkness that threads through them, there are also elements of light and hope. The musicianship is top notch, that is for sure. I like the risk taking here…the band is like, “here is our compositions…like them or leave them.” I quite enjoy them myself. Each track displays the expertise of the individual members, while retaining a core quality that is fairly easy to follow, but also has some surprises. As I mentioned, I am sure glad the band decided to forge ahead with their music, because it deserves to be heard. This is an album that will stay with you for a while.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Light
2. Sorceress
3. Cipher
4. Steelier
5. Dissension
6. Dose
7. Touch
Don Dewulf – Guitars
Marc Bonilla – Vocals
Thomas Lang – Drums
Bryan Beller – Bass
Jason Henrie – Bass
Jason Sadites – Guitar Solo (Dissension)
Record Label: WormHoleDeath Productions


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