Unmerciful – Wrath Encompassed

Wrath Encompassed is the third full-length from Topeka, Kansas’ very own Death Metal band UNMERCIFUL (April 24, Willowtip Records). In addition to this being their debut for the label, it is also my first go ‘round with these guys and I have to admit I was pretty impressed. The overall flow of the songs is nice and heavy, but at the same time this isn’t the same thing over and over again, know what I mean? As soon as I heard “Blazing Hatred” I knew this would be a good one. Musically the band manages to sound current yet well-versed in the Death Metal feel of the 90’s throughout this and the other tracks. “Predator to Prey” is without a doubt one of the best cuts on the album as the boys bring their hatchets down upon your head and torso.

Title track “Wrath Encompassed” is all business and gets right to fucking yo’ shit up, while “Carnage Unleashed” is simply that…audio carnage. Drummer Trynt Kelly really goes off during this one, while bassist/vocalist Jeremy Turner winds up matching him step for step. Joshua Riley’s lead vocal growls are goddamn badass by the way because he brings an attitude and a swagger. Guitar-wise there’s a lot going on courtesy of Justin Payne and Clinton Appelhanz, not just here but everywhere. “The Stench of Fear” comes across like the killer in a movie smashing his way through that door the hero/heroine has barricaded to no avail, with the guitar solo doing the killing of that cute couple and spilling their blood.

On the subject of violence, “Furious Precision” is a tightly-wound coil of tension and anger, poised to go in and wreck shop. “Oblivious Descent” reminds us just how goddamn good the rhythm section in this group is. They are very tight, and make it look easy, when everybody knows it is not. You can feel them in the very core of the song. Closer “Inexorable Decay” starts out with a hint of darkness before going all in on a slugfest. Really the only song I didn’t love was opener “The Incineration.” While it was good enough to make me want to hear more it was clear the rest of the record far surpassed it. But hey, that’s what happens sometimes.

All told I truly enjoyed this outing from UNMERCIFUL. The pacing of the record is well-done, and there are some great tracks to be found here. As I said before, the tunes aren’t overly repetitious, and each member of the group definitely brings something to the table. Wrath Encompassed is a potent combo of right hooks and left jabs, and while it may not deliver the fifth-round knockout, it more than likely wins by TKO in the twelfth. I am happy to recommend this one, dear readers. Hope you all enjoy it from the comfort of your homes!!

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Blazing Hatred”, “Predator to Prey”, “The Stench of Fear”, “Carnage Unleashed”

RATING: 8.2/10     

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