At some point, a band has to raise the bar higher for the music they release. While it’s understandable that recording artists might want to create music regardless of what people think, there should still be a feeling of living up to some measure of expectation. There needs to be some talent and vision behind the craft, with the conviction to turn that into something real. Or else, it just isn’t worth it.
This is true particularly if the band was once considered at the forefront of an expanding scene. Wombbath recorded and released the now-classic Swedish death metal album, Internal Caustic Torments, their debut full-length, in 1993. They released another EP called Lavatory shortly thereafter. However, subsequent to that release, Wombbath broke up, and other Swedish bands such as Entombed and Dismember reigned as kings of Swedeath.
Internal Caustic Torments featured plenty of mid-tempo riffs and d-beat parsing, and while it wasn’t the genre’s most memorable release for many; it was relished in underground circles. So much so, that a re-release in 2013 sold out not long after it was re-released. The band issued a full-length in 2015 called Downfall Rising, and response was largely lukewarm. Fast forward to this year, and Wombbath are back at it with another full-length album, called The Great Desolation.
Now More than ever, there are more groups recording albums in the underground for the sake of paying homage to the music they love. With this trend in mind, The Great Desolation feels too generic on first listen; the production is understandably cleaner that that of Internal Caustic Torments, but nevertheless with song structures that feel largely predictable. Fans who love Swedish death metal might have some remote interest, but there’s little about The Great Desolation that brings anything special to Swedeath in 2018.
Disagree with us? Check out the full album starting with “The Weakest Flesh”.
There are familiar d-beat sections that are intense, breakdowns in the middle of tracks, lead sections that follow shortly after, followed by yet another set of blast sections, but that’s precisely what fans might notice - the band execute well, but the songs are generic. In comparison, no one would level such criticism of Internal Caustic Torments. Then again, less seasoned fans who have not explored the depths of this genre might have a more positive response, as it would sound fresher simply due to lack of exposure.
Again, Wombbath are not guilty of making sub-par death metal. Death metal has simply evolved past the moot point of recording songs that don’t jump out at you and take hold of you for days on end. To be relevant in today’s scene, there must be more originality, or its obscurity for the lot of bands that play the same song structures and endlessly revisit the same tropes.
There’s little in repeated listens of The Great Desolation that might encourage fans to rush out and crowd the merchandise booth during shows. However, that’s up to the fans to decide. Sharing in a short review just why an act like Wombbath fails to make the needle spin after having recorded an underrated classic is hard enough. Fans who might bother to give this album repeated listens should definitely check out The Great Desolation and what the band have to offer next. Fans who stream this once and don’t finish it might share the same sentiments as I do.
The Great Desolation Track Listing:
01. Embrace Death
02. The Great Desolation
03. Footsteps of Armageddon
04. Born of Filth
05. Punisher of Broken Oaths
06. The Weakest Flesh
07. Cold Steel Salvation
08. Hail the Obscene
09. Harvester of Sin
Run Time: 37 minutes Release Date: June 1, 2018 Record Label: Soulseller Records