Wykked Wytch are based in Miami, Florida, have been active since 1994. The band was founded by vocalist and frontwoman Ipek, who has helmed the band artistically and remained the one static member for almost 15 years. The Ultimate Deception is their fifth full-length record. The first thing that struck me about The Ultimate Deception is the jagged, clumsy hybrid that is the sound, composed of a death metal backbone, meaty black metal riffs and blasts, and aching hardcore vocals with a smattering of syth and symphonic elements. The various techniques are slammed together in an ill-fitting way, so that the album shambles forward clumsily. The haphazard nature of this juxtaposition of various styles makes for a few interesting moments, when sounds grate against each other just so, but does not allow for the construction of a cohesive album. In a previous interview, Ipek stated that she was initially unsure whether or not to release this as a Wykked Wytch album, considering how drastically the band’s lineup had changed prior to the recording. The weight of those changes have clearly left their mark on The Ultimate Deception, in it’s gangly ungainliness.
The structure may be broken and crippled, but there are still some strengths left in this album. The moments when Wykked Wytch behaves most like a black metal band are some of the most successful. There is a charred, blackened core to their sound, and the moments when this aspect comes to the fore, like the shrieking vocals and gelid, buzzing riffs in “Prayers for the Decapitated,” are some of the most powerful and effective on The Ultimate Deception. I also have to give credit to the production value on the album, which is excellent, and takes into account the various, shifting influences and techniques perfectly. The chilly production on a black metal guitar riff will suddenly give way to hot, hard death metal drumming, and it flows seamlessly. There was clearly a lot of effort put in at the studio, and it shows.Â
Another high point of the album is Ipek’s voice. She is a chameleon and a demon on this album, somehow generating death metal growls, hardcore shouts, black metal shrieks, and almost operatic cleaning singing from the same throat. She often combines techniques within the same song, which can be greatly effective. There are moments in “When The Sleepers Rise” when her soaring cleans are layered on top of black metal screams, and then give way to a throaty, anguished death metal shout. Her performance often buoys the album up at moments where I would have otherwise lost interest
There is no doubt that The Ultimate Deception is a deeply flawed album. The construction is badly mangled and there are only a few stand-out songs. There are moments where Wykked Wytch transcend their weaknesses and make something that is worthwhile, through a strange alchemical reaction between their many disparate techniques and influences. It is up to an individual listener to decide whether this is enough to ultimately save the album.