Wombbath – “Choirs Of The Fallen” (Soulseller Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Going right back to the birth of Swedish death metal, Wombbath fell into a hiatus from the mid 90s after a handful of cult releases, with founder guitarist Håkan Stuvemark continuing to make his name across the underground in bands like Skineater, PermaDeath, Pale King and Henry Kane – to name but a few! In 2014 he felt the urge to make old school death metal and recruiting renowned vocalist Jonny Pettersson (Ashcloud, Berzerker Legion, Acid Domain, Human Harvest, Heads For The Dead, Gods Forsaken etc etc etc), released comeback albums “Downfall Rising” in 2015 and “The Great Desolation” in 2018, both with different backing bands but both to great critical acclaim. “Choirs Of The Fallen”, the band’s 4th full length release has thankfully been released more sooner and while the backing line up has revolved yet again, the uncompromisingly high standards of Stuvemark and Pettersson continue to make their mark in this devastating release. Despite their crude name, Wombbath’s material is anything but that, with lengthier songs sitting comfortably alongside fast slicers, while well thought out arrangements along with the intelligent use of evil and heavy metal melodies to create powerful atmospheres only adds to the already rich sound authentically forged in the original 90s style of dirty buzzsaw guitars, frighteningly fast double bass drumming and of course, bestial roaring vocals!!! As the whirring chainsaw guitars of Stuvemark and Thomas von Wachenfeldt induce the anxiety brilliantly on ‘Fallen’ as hammered home by the relentless beating of Jon Rudin, Pettersson sounds like a hungry bear awakening from its slumber although its the slick death n roll grooves, tasty melodies and impressive neo classical solos that really bring the finesse to this opening number. Smashing in with absolutely huge bass backed waves of filthy death on ‘We Shall Remain’, the furor is intense as Pettersson’s vocals hit you from multiple angles before slowing into another immense groove exquisitely contrasted by some flowing, ethereal melodies – brilliant! Putting the death n roll groove machine into full swing on ‘From The Beggars Hand’, the whirring guitars chunder and wail insanely as the blast beats commence and the razor riffs power in, once again offset by some rippling melodies that ice off the brutality spectacularly. This is full force old school Swe-deth from one of the oldest bands still active!