Bringing on the wrath with class
After breaking a three year recording drought with their stop-gap E.P. release Terra Fire in 2010, Californian (Ventura based) stoner/thrash metal outfit The Fucking Wrath have finally delivered their long awaited follow-up to 2007’s Season of Evil in Valley of the Serpent’s Soul. Although the gap between Terra Fire and Valley of the Serpent’s Soul has been a relatively short one (11 months to be exact), The Fucking Wrath (who comprise guitarist/vocalist Craig Kasamis, guitarist Brent Woodward, bassist/vocalist Nick Minasian and drummer John Crerar) have definitely taken their song writing and performances to a whole new level on their latest effort, as well as broadening their song well beyond the formula stoner rock sound documented on their former efforts.
The opening track The Question is the first to show off the advancements the band has made in recent times, with the song showcasing a greater southern based rock ‘n’ roll vibe than anything the band has presented before, which brings to mind Every Time I Die toying around with a Motörhead cover, while maintaining the expected trademark aggressiveness. Of course, the stoner rock component of the band’s sound is still very much there (especially around the slowed down tail end of the track), but overall The Question is something different for The Fucking Wrath, and in a good way.
The follow-up track, Rebellious Axe, is an energetic thrashing rocker that features some great lead work and some great sounding twists throughout that bring to mind some of Mastodon’s latter day work, while Swan Song of a Mad Man is a slow and doom-like early era Black Sabbath effort that boasts plenty of Tony Iommi riffs and melodies on the guitar front, but diverse enough in tempo and groove to avoid many of the clichés attached to those who mimic the legendary act’s sound and style.
The mid-paced Altar of Lies is a definite favourite with its thrash-like tail end (which is essentially a nod to the legendary thrash pioneers Metallica), while Goddess of Pain (which is preceded by the short instrumental piece Grandelusion) is an angry hardcore/southern rock thrasher that is devastating in an Alabama Thunderpussy meets Maylene and the Sons of Disaster kind of way.
Last but not least is the lengthy centrepiece effort, The Neurodyssey, which is an sprawling epic split into three movements (the slow and doom based Valley of the Serpent’s Soul, the mid-paced grooving piece Caverns of Fire and the thrashing tail end Endless Black Flags), and one that emphasises the diversity in sound the band has pushed themselves into within recent times.
Everything on this album is a big step up for the band (including the production, which was handled by the band and Armand Anthony), and while The Fucking Wrath has always been a solid and enjoyable act in the past, Valley of the Serpent’s Soul is by far their accomplished release to date.
(Tee Pee Records/Impedance Records)