Friday, 27 April 2012

Wizard's Beard - Four Tired Undertakers

Altsphere 2012

1.Subrise El Muerto 2.Abandon The Wolf 3.Daemon
4.Seeth Inside 5.Accursed 6.Harbringer

Dirty buzz heavy guitars open up ‘Subrise El Muerto’ mournfully, sombre and grief stricken in essence. They are joined by some equally tortured drumming and vocals that are etched in grief and despair. There’s a (very) slight hint of groove to the riffs, but only slight. The overall sense of desperation is the predominant feature to the band’s sound. Every riff dragging along at an absolute dirt tinged crawl. The vocals are a highlight and (for me) are what makes the band stand out. The screamed vocals taking the lead, however guttural growled vocals are used to back up the main vocals and when used sound immensely heavy and brutal. ‘Abandon The Wolf’ sees more groove injected into the guitars and dare it be said, a touch more melody. However, the air of desperation is never lost, sludgy filthy riffs creating a real sense of horror. Again, the vocals are a real highlight, once again mixing vocal styles and really giving this track some punch. Pace wise the song slows to an absolute crawl, riffs stripped to an absolute minimum by using only open chords, depressive and almost exhausting. ‘Daemon’ begins the instant the previous track ends and begins in an almost upbeat fashion before the riffing is once again stripped right back, the guitars stretching open chords into oblivion. The band do flirt with ‘pace’ every now and again, but don’t expect any blast beats here, the pace only ever being upped slightly and never for any serious timespan, the band sitting more comfortably in the filthy, wretched sludge induced crawl that they purvey so brilliantly. Its doom, its sludge, it’s filthy and nasty but it’s utterly captivating. Even though the track clocks in at 9:31, it’s not the longest on the disc, that monster is left for later! ‘Seeth Inside’ offers up more of the same, this track taking a more familiar ‘doom’ approach, the sludge element to the band’s sound taking more of a back seat here. Eventully however the groove side the band’s sound gets a relatively heaving outing with the song beginning to almost 'bounce' along. But fear not, it’s short lived, the re-introduction of the sombre, dirty crawling riffs mixed with the dual vocals really brings you back down to earth with a very hefty thump. Reality punching you square in the face and reminding you just how shit life really is!
‘Accursed’ threatens to let the more groovy riffs burst into life, but any pace is held back brilliantly and as ever, kept to a minimum, stopping the listener getting too carried away and thinking ‘happy thoughts’. That’s not what WB want from you, they want to drag you down into the shit, fuck with your head and then kick you in the face before dumping your sorry carcass where they found it. And believe me, that’s just what they do! The click of the drum sticks introduce the longest track on this disc, at 11:20 you just know that ‘Harbringer’ is going to leave you feeling exhausted after listening to it. With drums and guitars that are stripped back to a bare minimum from the offset, the daunting task of listening to such horror filled, depressive extreme metal becomes all too clear. Any sense of groove or pace removed in favour of a sparse and baron sound. Not even a scream or growl to be heard (for the first five minutes of the track) which makes ‘the going’ even heavier and harder. Half way through the track there’s a real change in sound with the guitars dropping out completely and the bass and drums lead the track, a real heavy gravelly tone to the bass which holds the atmosphere already created.  As the track draws to a close the vocals once again prove their worth, the dual vocals sound really sick and twisted and extremely tortured and brutal, the sound once again stripped to the bare minimum ending this marathon of a track! We’re even treated to a ‘hidden track’, slowly coming to life after about two minutes of absolute silence. It’s as you would expect, slow, tortured, dirty, brutal, depressive, exhausting, sick but utterly compelling and a joy to listen to.
Four Tired Undertakers is an excellent follow up to the 2011 epic ‘Pure Filth’. Some of the influences seen on their debut dropped in favour of a more doom/sludge sound but that’s not a criticism by any means, it’s simply an observation and see’s the band stripping their sound down to the absolute minimum but without losing any of their appeal. This release is as extreme as you’re likely to hear from a band that chooses to keep their songs slow, very slow. Each track stands out, never sounding drawn out or monotonous which is an achievement in itself for such long tracks. Want to get down in the dirt and revel in the horror and grime, then get this cd…you will not be disappointed. Comes highly recommended

8 out of 10

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