Review Summary: A surprisingly heavy and catchy album from a relatively new and unknown band.
After the first spin of Summoning the Wretched nothing really stood out to me, and I was not drawn to listen to it again. About a year later while shuffling through my music library and doing homework my ears were berated by some gnarly gravity blasts accompanied with slick guitar work. I looked up to my computer screen and was surprised to see “Allegiance” by The Analyst being played, and decided to give the CD another try.
Whether my initial reaction was due to lack of attention or my preoccupation another band, after listening to the album again I found it to be a great album with a couple of really stand out tracks. Despite the greatness that is the song “Allegiance” my favorite two songs on the album are tracks 6 and 7, "Summoning the Wretched" and "Throne of Phyrrus," respectively. “Summoning the Wretched” opens with an awesomely catchy introduction and continues to kick-ass with some great riffs throughout the song. The drummer Brandon Tabor really drives the song along with both sporadic and continual blasting of double bass and snare beats. On some of the other tracks the continual double bass can get a little old, but in general the drummer delivers a consistent and quality foundation to the songs. “Throne of Phyrrus” begins with the same lame interlude that ends track #4 with the stupid creature (or in this case, the “wretched” that is being summoned) moaning in the background or some crap. Despite this dumb opening, once the actual song starts at 0:32 it grabs you with pounding double bass and doesn’t let go. Throne is the type of song that is so catchy that it gets stuck in your head long after the song has ended, and in contrast to the dumb crap on the radio, this is a good thing.
In an effort to comment on the album more generally, I would say that the guitar work is impressive throughout. The solos aren’t overly prevalent or show-offish and vary nicely while delivering solid, heavy riffs. The vocals aren’t bad, but aren’t really spectacular either. The singer does a good job of switching between growls and screams but nothing really stands out as great or terrible, which isn’t a bad thing overall because the drummer, guitarist and bassist are so consistent and engaging to listen to.
There are a few low points of the album, with one the worst offenders in my view being the interlude I touched on above. I’m guessing the interlude is there to break up the heaviness of the album with the light, slow piano playing but I would really prefer a sick instrumental, or nothing at all - just keep the brutality train running if necessary. If forced to pick another negative aspect, I would have to point to the few songs that feature similar pacing and continual double bass - the constant pounding makes these few songs difficult to differentiate between each other. Perhaps this problem relates to why I initially dismissed the album.
Despite these few negatives, this brutal album is really fun to listen to and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes their heavy metal with breakdowns, growls, screams, and loud, deep double bass. The couple of throwaway songs that aren't really differentiable contributed most to the 3.5 rating, but the album is still enjoyable and I recommend it highly. If forced to think of a band most similar to The Analyst I would say Fleshgod Apocalypse, minus the classical influence. However if you’re wondering which sub-genre of heavy/death metal the band belongs to, I couldn’t really tell you, and honestly, who cares? Just listen to this album (perhaps twice before trying to pass judgment) and enjoy it for what it is.