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Unmerciful – Wrath Encompassed

Wrath Encompassed
by Eric Poulin at 17 March 2020, 6:03 AM

UNMERCIFUL are a brutal death metal out of Topeka, Kansas in the United States. The band was originally formed in 2001, and has been active again since 2004. This is their third full-length album entitled “Wrath Encompassed” to be released on April 24th, 2020 through the Willowtip Records label. The album is comprised of 9 songs at a total of 38:24 of music. I was not familiar with this project, even though I have definitely listened to my share of death metal in the last 20 years. The brutal death metal genre can be tricky as it can be so over-the-top that it makes it difficult to listen to or it goes in the technical spheres, remaining brutal, that can make it quite acquired taste.

So on to the review we go. “Incineration” does not waste much time with its straight-forward CANNIBAL CORPSE approach. There are definitely some similarities in the vocal style with the latter. The song maintains a very steady level of intensity, something noticeable in the early days of ABORTED (the higher shrieks definitely reminded me of those albums). Amidst the storm of fury this song possesses, there are some tempo changes and more technical parts. The second song “Blazing Hatred” sounds a mix between DIVINE EMPIRE, NILE and DEICIDE. While I would not say it shares the technical aspect of NILE, it definitely embodies the soul-devouring sound of the American band, hence also the reference to DEICIDE, with its blasting drums and guttural tone.

Predator to Prey” actually takes its time with some more complex elements in the first 30 seconds. I usually repeat myself when I talk about the musical influences I hear in an album but there is some ABORTED in here, with rapid-fire precision and a lot of notes being played, more or less hidden in the brutality of the vocals and the drums, but it is definitely present. The title track “Wrath Encompassed” is quite the shredder of flesh if I have ever heard one. Again, this brings me right back to the golden era of Floridian death metal, brutal and angry, unleashing violence note after note. The following “Carnage Unleashed” is very CORPSE-ish as well in its presentation, especially since the song does not let you breathe one second and immediately goes into machine-gun mode.

Another standout is “The Stench of Fear “ which has so much hate-driven guitars and a structure that reminds me of that first time I listened to the band ORIGIN, it’s the kind of song that just leaves you stuck in a state of amazement at how intense it is and never lets go. The album really packs a punch on every single track. While the album lasts only 38 minutes, it is a relentless brutal piece of music throughout. If you have always enjoyed your death metal in its purest form, as non-stop aggression, you will be pleasantly surprised by this release.

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

4 Star Rating

1.  The Incineration
2.  Blazing Hatred
3.  Predator to Prey
4.  Wrath Encompassed
5.  Carnage Unleashed
6.  The Stench of Fear
7.  Furious Precision
8.  Oblivious Descent
9.  Inexorable Decay
Justin Payne - Guitars, Vocals
Clint Appelhanz - Guitars, Vocals
Jeremy Turner - Bass, Vocals
Trynt Kelly - Drums
Joshua Riley - Vocals
Record Label: Willowtip Records


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