Wretched Fate
Carnal Heresy



by M. Worden STAFF
March 14th, 2023 | 11 replies

Release Date: 02/24/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Violence.

Wretched Fate do not like you. It’s obvious from their base premise: there are no gimmicks here, minimal attempts to craft an atmosphere, and no broader concepts in play, only an unforgiving death metal album with a wicked desire to bludgeon the f*ck out of unfortunate listeners. That is not to detract from the impressive combination of influences on display—the Swedish collective imbue their interpretation of the genre with an exciting technical flair intertwined with melodic bursts, harkening back to the era of prime Dismember or the intensity of Entombed—but it encapsulates the relentless, unforgiving pace of sophomore LP Carnal Heresy. Rarely does the record pause for breath, and in the event it does, it is always to generate a new onslaught that drags the audience further below into crushing depths. When firing on all cylinders, the sound emerging from the group is massive, buoyed by a thick bass tone and a grand, modern production that flaunts its heaviness at any given opportunity.

Subtlety isn’t the name of the game here--everything Wretched Fate engage in is up close and personal from the very beginning of “Mind Desecrator”--but the gang inevitably has a knack for making catchy and simultaneously menacing death metal tunes, allowing each of the nine tracks on the album to be easily distinguishable. Their melodic leanings aid this considerably, ranging from the dark riff and runaway soloing of “Momentary Suicide” to the vibrant lead of “Harlots for Suffering.” How the guitars wrap around the group’s straightforward yet suitably commanding harsh vocals is similarly effective, using simplistic choruses to increase recall potential and tie instrumental refrains to concert-ready death metal anthems. When melody is subdued in favor of brutal, uncompromising death, the band maintains their addicting qualities; centerpiece “Umbilical Suffocation” employs a bone-crushing riff to launch it onwards into chaotic instrumentation, permitting the pure heaviness of the group’s rhythm section to sell the chorus as a distant tremolo darkens the ominous landscape. Early highlight “Cry from Beyond” emphasizes discordant textures to craft an ominous mood, adding an extra atmospheric flavor on top of its groovy, technical guitar work. There’s consistently an x-factor present that can sell a song, ensuring a degree of memorability lingers past initial visits.

While their earworm refrains and supporting melodies are worth a check on their own, the Swedes are far from a one trick pony; their overall songwriting is delightfully progressive, more so than most that can be heard kicking around in the old-school revival aesthetic. It’s a harder task than expected to predict where the gang will guide their sound; for example, “Upon the Weak” quietly emerges from far away, bringing in tow a titanic riff and bass-boosted low end, and patiently ebbs onward at a slow tempo, only to abruptly hit a second gear that sends the song barreling into a spiraling chamber of winding guitars and thunderous percussion—only to then find a third gear propelled by ferocious blast beats and a shadowy tremolo, ultimately collapsing into nothingness as the bedlam slowly fades into the distance. Occasional tech-death flourishes are the icing on the cake, such as the delightful array of sweeps that conquer the second half of “Cry from Beyond'' and the sci-fi-like tones that sporadically appear throughout closer “Spineless Horror.” Groove-centric tunes a la the aforementioned “Umbilical Suffocation” are equally destructive and do their part in adding commendable diversity to the disc. As un-subtle as Carnal Heresey can be, its complexity and variety are not to be underestimated.

There is suspension of disbelief involved to an extent—the typical price of admission for any contemporary band flexing old-school worship—due to the fact that, yes, this will not be the most wholly original disc to grace speaker systems. The intent here is not solely to pay tribute, however, even though the group is transparent about their influences; it’s about transporting classic sounds into a modern mix with the new school’s increasingly technical leanings. Confused? The answer to any question is death by riff. Seeking thought-provoking social commentary? Death by riff. Searching for mind-bending, game-changing antics that rewrite the novel of the genre? Sure, nerd. Death by riff. Looking to forfeit any preconceptions in service of appreciating nothing but sheer power and unbridled ruthlessness? Believe it or not, death by riff. Truly, that’s all it takes; surrounded by peers emphasizing dissonance, narratives, faux-intellectual saxophone interludes and whatever else, it’s a simple pleasure to hear a group that can effortlessly write adrenaline-pumping, striking tunes that do not give a f*ck. This is straight-up, dirty death metal through the lens of a progressive, melodic perspective, and it’s an undeniable thrill ride from start to finish.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2023


Album Rating: 4.0

This album fucks.

Check it on bandcamp: https://wretchedfate.bandcamp.com/album/carnal-heresy

Also can be found on Spotify. Ask your local grocery if their apples have music.

Let me know what y'all think!

Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2023


Thic review Mars. I found this quite overwhelming if I remember correctly but forgot to revisit it, gotta do so!

Contributing Reviewer
March 15th 2023


I should check this. I keep meaning to dive more into this genre and then I don’t…

March 15th 2023


Album Rating: 2.5

This sounds like bootleg bloodbath

March 15th 2023


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review! Just discovered this one a few days ago and definitely dig it. Might be more of a 3.5 tbh but I smacked it with a 4 anyway for now.

See where you're coming from with the Bloodbath comment though. Instantly reminded me of their first two.

March 15th 2023


lol oh yes, the band that sounds exactly like Bloodbath. I jammed this a couple weeks back and it's all I hear. But I love Bloodbath, so naturally enjoyed my time with this

March 15th 2023


Also, this band is called Wretched Fate, which can also be found on Bloodbath's 'Ways to the Grave' lyrics. They know what's up

Contributing Reviewer
March 15th 2023


Album Rating: 3.0

Love the review, sounds right up my street

March 15th 2023


probably a 10/10 if you love highly produced death metal, and a snoozefest if you don't

March 15th 2023


Glad we were all on the same page about Bloodbath. He even has similar vocal patterns and inflections to Akerfeldt. Really like this album though.

March 16th 2023


Album Rating: 4.0

This is great tbh

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