Swedish death metal supergroup Wombbath was among the first bands to launch in the early years of death metal. Having released its classic debut album “Internal Caustic Torments” which remained as a holy grail for fans of old-school death metal. Although the band was originally formed by other members, like Richard Lagberg, Roger Enstedt, and Tobbe Holmgren, it was until the presently still lead guitarist Håkan Stuvemark joined the ranks and become the creative mind behind Wombbath’s future releases that they really excelled. Though the entire discography includes only five albums, the band had a brief moment of fame in the early days but sadly, Wombbath never achieved a reputation like their fellow mates such as Dismember, Entombed, Unleashed and others that they deserve so much, making them somehow underrated in the genre of death metal. On the sixth album entitled “Agma” Wombbath refrains from the traditional sound of HM-2 and delivers a rather morbid and brutal death metal quality.
With its strong line-up including vocalist and guitarist Jonny Pettersson whose prolific career is best known for his numerous projects like Berzerker Legion, God’s Forsaken, Heads for The Dead, Massacre etc., drummer Jon Rudin (Just Before Dawn), guitarist and violinist Thomas von Wachenfeldt, and bassist Matt Davidson together explore the grotesqueness of death metal. While the songwriting level and musicianship are combined into a lengthy set of sixteen tracks, they emphasize heavy guitar barrages and oppressive drumming, providing seventy-two minutes of precision and technicality. The album requires careful listening and this is because the songs are loaded with plenty of grooves through the rhythm guitars and the focused drums will make you experience the complex framework of the songs.
What sets Wombbath’s newest album apart from the modern death metal bands is the fact that the quintet employs a wide variety of old school riffing techniques, while the vocals somehow also use clean vocal hooks. Jonny Pettersson shows some excellent individual abilities. Wombbath brings new musical trademarks, where the songs incorporate brutality and aggression, unleashing enough savagery while keeping the riffs versatile. Songs like “The Law of Everything “and “At the Giant’s Feet” are molded in a cold morbid atmosphere, and when the clean vocals pop up they add an extra texture to the ongoing brutality.
Wombbath has successfully garnered well-crafted riffs on this albums. There are some powerful grooves on tracks like “A World of Destruction”. Ranging from mid-tempo and shifts on displaying scathing melodies, each track contains a deadly hook and they perfectly contrast to the aggression. “Agma” initiates their fresh approach for accomplishment, making it the best effort since the debut album. The bold opening of the album utilizes new methods that seemingly could become the future trademarks of the band. The composition shines throughout the rest of the songs, and the riffs are soaked in dark melodies and grisly rhythm that sets a morbid tone.
Powerful bludgeoning drums provide punchy beats and untamed brutality that generates tons of grooves and blasting sections, where the guitars paint a hellish picture on several songs. “Blindly They Follow” is one of the fastest songs but it also involves some catchy guitar melodies and plenty of blast beats. What’s so noteworthy about the album is the sense of balance and the utilization of different ideas. Mixing death metal with melodies isn’t something odd but there are certain songs like “Breathe In The Flames” and “The Age of Death” that are both distinguished by the brief violin section that is quickly followed by the heavy guitar barrages.
Musically “Agma” has different textures but the scale of brutality is remarkably refined by the flavor melodies which keep the listener entertained. Wombbath managed to pull the best parts from the earlier albums, though my main issue with the new album is that some of the songs are merely fillers, and the duration of over an hour-long feels very exhausting. Having said that, the remaining songs like “In Decay they shall Fall”, and “Divine Pain” are solid death metal tracks.
“The Dead and the Dying” allows for a more mid-pacing tempo where the emphasis is mainly focused on robust dynamics with the rhythm section sounding incredibly catchy and momentous. The final two tracks such as “Scorned Existence” is standout track featuring impeccable violin passage, where the mid-tempo section highlights the performance of the veterans. The final song “On A Path of Repulsion” offers a bone-crushing death metal brutality and the riffing gives a sense of demonic closure. Despite the fillers “Agma” is a very inspiring album that embodies plenty of ideas, effectual hooks, and riffing structure that comes in one cohesive package!
Release Date: December 31st, 2021
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
- The Law of Everything
- At The Giant’s Feet
- The Seventh Seal
- Inquisition Reborn
- Blindly They Follow
- A World of Destruction
- Misantropi och förakt
- Breathe in the Flames
- The Age of Death
- Oh Fire of Hate
- In Decay They Shall Fester
- Divine Pain
- The Death and the Dying
- Departure from the Light
- Scorned Existence
- On a Path of Repulsion