Wreche – All my dreams came true Review

Tonight on Dear Hollow‘s Notable Bad Decisions: telling his pregnant wife that her back pains and affected center of gravity was not due to her pregnancy and that he “totally gets what she’s feeling;” yelling at a student for being absent for, unbeknownst to him, putting the family dog down; slamming his hand on a desk to wake up a sleeping student when said sleeping student was actually crying silently. Bad decisions run rampant and keep us up some nights, but we grow, we learn, and we keep making mistakes to grow and learn some more. With every bold decision comes potential to fail, and stealing this promising band from the illustrious and esteemed, and uncommonly forgiving Dr. Wvrm is a learning opportunity. So does Wreche’s sophomore effort live up to its wild premise, or does it crash and burn?

Wreche is the black metal brainchild of Oakland, California artist John Steven Morgan, working solo since the project’s debut with drummer Barret Baumgart. It professes a style “more unhinged, personal, and varied” than 2017’s offering. Trashing guitar completely, Morgan instead focuses entirely on synth, piano, vocals, and drums, not unlike Mories’ Golden Ashes project. If you’re catching weird vibes, you ain’t wrong: All my dreams came true is a bizarre beast that somehow maintains the darkness of its blackened source material while taking its tricks to avant-garde heights. However imperfect, inconsistent, and bloated, Wreche offers a fusion of black metal, symphonic, jazz, and classical whose unwaveringly evocative atmosphere is the true star of the show.

Synth-driven black metal is often just dungeon synth with drums or way too cheery for its own good, and Wreche manages to avoid both pitfalls with relative ease; with an even more unique aesthetic leading the charge, it’s a gamble that mightily pays off. Morgan’s foundation of somber piano melodies and scattered synth licks showcase his ability as a songwriter and pianist, as fourteen-minute behemoth “Severed” seamlessly maneuver between jazzy arpeggios, ominous ambiance, and blackened fury, while tracks like “Mysterium” and “Les Fleurs II” are furiously dark juxtapositions of Darkthrone and George Gershwin. “Severed” in particular showcases the best of Wreche’s formidable nearly classical songwriting, as each movement feels aptly fluid, transitioning from passage to passage with seamless ebb and flow dynamics. All my dreams came true never feels rushed, even the two-minute “Les Fleurs I” feels far more effective than its runtime suggests. “Scherzo” benefits from its generally mysterious atmosphere with dissonant flourishes scattered throughout. While initially jarring in “Mysterium,” the fusion of classical or jazzy piano with blastbeats and synth becomes strangely addictive as the album goes on.

But make no mistake, the fusion is ridiculously jarring. “Mysterium” is particularly at fault, as suddenly you’re hit upside the head with blastbeats and classical trills with little warning. “The Darkling Thrush” is also questionable in its tones, as the mysterious jazz intro to emotive chord progressions to the bouncy polka rhythms and so on provide genre whiplash on so many levels. All in all, Wreche’s experimental nature is also bound to be divisive, that while acts like Ex Eye or Imperial Triumphant streamline their jazzy nature with metal fury, Morgan is content copying and pasting the many modes atop black metal blastbeats. It’s an extremely experimental album that recalls avant-garde jazz greats like Miles DavisBitches Brew or Herbie Hancock’s Sextant, which were rightly divisive for their time.

Wreche is one-of-a-kind, that while the project recalls a strange blend of Golden Ashes, Kataxu, Nachtreich, Dawn of a Dark Age, and Imperial Triumphant, All my dreams came true never feels hackneyed. Balancing virtuoso neoclassical with black metal and jazz is rightly jarring and inevitably divisive, but Wreche manages to accomplish this fusion with grace and evocation, highlighting first and foremost rock-solid songwriting. While the first tracks have a tendency to blur together and awkwardly juxtapose classical piano trills over blackened blastbeats, All my dreams come true smooths out its dynamics to something dark, evocative, and challenging. Is it perfect? Hell no. Is it the musical equivalent of yelling at a crying student? Far from it.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Handsmade Collective | Acephale Winter Productions
Websites: facebook.com/wreche | wreche.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: May 14th, 2021

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