Germanic Wound style their cruddy, punky and nasty school of death metal to fall somewhere between that of forbearers of the Gothenburg death metal sound At The Gates, old-school death metallers Necrowretch and Wolfbrigade (previously Wolfpack). I’m hazarding a guess that’s why they were added to F.D.A Rekotz deathstable, home to one of Steel Druhm’s big picks from 2012, Blood Mortized. Inhale the Void follows on a little over a year after the release of their demo Confess to Filth and it pretty much negates the need to hunt down this earlier release as 4 of the 6 tracks making up the demo are nicely bundled up in this debut. All rather convenient and considerate of them to do that!
Being that Wound sell themselves with such big promises I found the opening and closing tracks (“Odium” and “Inhale the Void”) largely superfluous and much like Blood Mortized‘s huge opening on The Key to a Black Heart, Wound should have jumped in feet first and opened up with “Acodex Arcanum”. Musically, Inhale the Void embraces the old-school galloping Swedish death sound of Entombed and the massive killing capacity delivered by Dismember. Tracks like “Codex Arcanum”, “Echoes”, “Forever Denial”, “Confess to Filth” and “Corroded From Within” race along at break-neck speed with the guitars and vocals being the focus. Again paying homage to Blood Mortized‘s offering, the guitar work is fuzzy, ferociously mosh pit friendly and bruising, but at the same time has a lasting, melodic hooky feel about it. What Wound are missing, however are the Blood Mortized skull crushing solos and the doominess that would go a long way towards individualizing the tracks and taking away that feeling of likeness that leaves you feeling as though one track is being devoured and absorbed by the next [Didn’t you really want to say ‘samey’? — Steel Druhm].
Outside of “Odium” and “Inhale the Void”, the remaining tracks follow sobering subject matter like demons, revenge, anti-Christianity, perversion, pedophilia and possession. These topics are further intensified by Christian Schettler’s aggressively honest, rage-filled vocal style in tracks like “The Unsolved Obscurity”, “Echoes” and on the more dirge-like track “The Prince of Tyranny”. He’s able to switch back and forth between brutishly intense, yet somehow coherent growls to larynx shredding shrieks that reminded me of the devastation spewed out by black metal band Koldbrann‘s vocalist Mannevond.
Of the things I found most annoying about Inhale the Void, was that Wound book-ended the album with “Odium” and “Inhale the Void”. The concept of opening and closing albums with instrumentals and moody chants is starting to feel dated and overdone – if for example your aim is to create Swedish death metal, but remain brutal then take a page out of American death metal band Suffocation‘s book and go brutal from track one, quit all this pussy-footing and skirting around the issue!
Recording of Inhale the Void was handed by Haunted Studios (a small project studio based in Germany run by Wound bassist Alexander Schulz), with mastering carried out by fellow countrymen at Soundsight Studio. The overall sound of the album is warm, dense and heavy (outside of the title track), with a nicely unpolished feel that suits the dark nature of Wound’s crunchy, balls-to-the-wall sound.
Inhale the Void successfully leaves you feeling as though Wound have played with more than just their instruments. Their barrage holds nothing back, leaving your senses and emotions thoroughly beaten by the end of the album. Despite my complaints, this is a great debut album and I’m going to keep my eye on Wound. [That sounds very serial killer-ish — Steel Druhm].