Review Summary: In a Midwest metropolis, there's a new tech-death brew to consume, and it's got riffs.
Formulating a potent brew of technical death metal embodies a tightrope-like exercise in chemical science: a balance has to be struck between inputs of instrumental virtuosity and memorability. Dweedle and bree to the heart’s extent and the result likely produces befuddled expressions rather than nods of approval, the mosh pit scratching its collective head as it searches for a riff to cling to—a simple, dull escape. Some villainous alchemy is at work inside the city limits of Chicago, striving to remedy the incessant influx of cheap alternatives. Instead of just crafting intriguing musical forays, newly-branded quartet Wounds advance their sound a step further, injecting the huddled masses with a most contagious plague that spreads throughout the entire body. Symptoms stretch beyond typically observed instances of fist-pumping intensity; many victims seem to break out in convulsive dancing exhibitions, enslaved by the groovy tunes reverberating in their eardrums. Though its duration may be brief, Light Eater
is certainly an infectious collection of songs that are tightly structured and performed with absolute precision. The typically polished, melodic textures of the genre explode from the guitars with considerable force, simultaneously reaching abyssal depths to pile on a crunching heaviness to accentuate breakdowns and the various tempo shifts. Rest assured that the impending virus possesses enough skill to be aesthetically ostentatious while maintaining a dirty undertone that brings the full force of a death metal onslaught.
The band is undoubtedly comfortable managing a fast pace through the featured cuts presented here, but rarely do they remain content at lingering in one place. “Metamorphosis” definitely breaks off its chains in a burst of powerful chords that explore the expanse of the fretboard, but the middle of the track finds itself collapsing into a slower section, low-end chugs pounding the listener into submission. True to name, the conclusion of the song blossoms into a harmonious solo, emerging from the murk in a stunning fashion. Immediately afterwards comes the ferocious charge of the grind-tinged “Fractured” in case any reservation lingered regarding the group’s ability to procreate crushing riffs. The comparatively brief selection merges together the pool of influences—technical, death metal, and groovy grind—concisely and without added fluff. Ultimately, the reason these particular highlights achieve success is not only because of their aforementioned perks, but because their sonic identities are distinguishable from one another—a queue of the tracks can be drafted and each conception speaks in its own voice, bringing to the table its share of memorable moments. In a genre brimming with copycats and style-over-substance projects, this fact instantly places Wounds at a position above their peers. Of equal note is the amount of foot-tapping fun that was alluded to; the album’s title track revels in various speed changes, bouncing up and down on a mid-tempo refrain that prompts an appropriate bouncing session from whoever jumps on the ride.
This chemistry club experiences even greater benefits due to how they operate as a unit; there are no players that outshine another, cooperation being the critical factor that makes the invention addicting, open to revisits. Too often does the guitarist flaunt their finger muscles or the bassist conquers the stage, which leads to records that are of high quality but concurrently unbalanced. The production presented allows for each member to be heard: vocals control a range of commanding growls to vicious shrieks, holding down the fort as furious drums take the reins, effectively accelerating and decelerating to lay down those punishing grooves; and the guitars and bass function in synchronicity, one providing melody while the other supplies increased weight to passages, occasionally embarking upon its own central riff. It develops in such a way that what once was mad science now appears elementary—Wounds demonstrate the basics and something extra as if second nature. Crowds exposed to this kind of substance definitely have more to look forward to than an infrequent call to thrash about. Chicago’s resident engineers offer an adventure that doesn’t associate with the norm and is marketed to those searching for more than the ordinary. Perhaps the sole drawback is that, contained in 5 songs, the enjoyable jaunt is too short. If it is a sign for things to come, though, it’s worth adding another round to the tab.