Album Review – Unearth / The Wretched; The Ruinous (2023)

Celebrating almost 25 years on the road, Boston’s own Death Metal/Metalcore beast returns with a demolishing opus, a concept album that follows the current effects of the man-made climate crisis.

On album number eight, titled The Wretched; The Ruinous, Boston, Massachusetts-based Death Metal/Metalcore outfit Unearth not merely continues to amp-up their metal-meets-hardcore intensities, but they also exceed themselves with a record that incorporates elements of classic Unearth offerings dating back to their 2004 “breakthrough” album The Oncoming Storm, while exploring beyond the recent back-to-basics promise of their 2018 effort Extinction(s). Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Will Putney at Graphic Nature Audio, and displaying a stylish artwork by Alexandre Goulet, The Wretched; The Ruinous is a concept album that follows the current effects of the man-made climate crisis as well as what will happen in the years to come if drastic and immediate changes are not made to curb emissions, and monumental efforts are not made to repair and adjust to the damages already done, all wrapped up by the fulminating yet very melodic music by vocalist Trevor Phipps, guitarist Buz McGrath, bassist Chris O’Toole and drummer Mike Justian.

The title-track The Wretched; The Ruinous is freakin’ madness from the very first second, with Mike showing no mercy for his drums nor for our necks, inviting us all to slam into the circle pit to the demented growls by Trevor. In Cremation of the Living the quartet fires more of their acid Metalcore with Melodic Death Metal nuances while its lyrics exhale insanity (“Exist – perish / Discordant nature / All turned to dust / Enraged creator / Victims to shepherds of fear”), followed by Eradicator, another pulverizing tune by the band with Buz delivering sheer electricity from his guitar supported by the metallic bass by Chris. Mother Betrayal sounds and feels more atmospheric and melodic than its predecessors, and it’s interesting how Trevor “abandoned” his clean singing in the entire album just like what we can enjoy in this song. Then it’s pedal to the metal as the quartet will smash our cranial skulls inside the pit with Invictus, a lecture in modern-day Metalcore sounding heavier and harsher than any of the songs form their previous efforts.

Call of Existence brings to our avid ears an amazing guitar job done by Buz, helping to balance the song’s aggressiveness with more melodic riffs and striking solos while Mike dictates the song’s headbanging pace behind his drums. They offer more of their visceral Metalcore in Dawn of the Militant, inspiring us to keep the circle pit action going while Trevor continues to roar and scream manically. After that, the serene interlude Aniara will soothe our souls before we’re treated to another diabolical attack by Unearth titled Into the Abyss, showcasing a solid sonority led by Buz and Chris with their stringed weapons, albeit not as thrilling as the rest of the album. Back to a more infernal mode we have Broken Arrow, where Trevor screams the song’s lyrics in great fashion (“Fire in the sky / Awoken infernal slumber / Peaceful days now ill remembered / Failed to deliver / Accidents of mass destruction / Lie in wait yet not forever”) in a display of fast and crushing Metalcore for the masses; whereas lastly you’ll break your neck headbanging to Theaters of War, with Mike hammering his drums in the name of heavy music for our total delight.

Unearth are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube with news, tour dates and more of their amazing music, and if you want to give The Wretched; The Ruinous a spin you can find the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and purchase it by clicking HERE or HERE. “We formed this band to make music for us, not trying to create something for anyone else. As soon as we did that people connected to it, and it’s kept us pushing onward for almost 25 years. We look forward to 25 more,” commented the band about their almost 25 years of career, but let’s be honest and admit that it’s us fans who got a very nice anniversary gift with the release of their awesome new album, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: The Wretched; The Ruinous, Invictus and Broken Arrow.

Worst moments of the album: Into the Abyss.

Released in 2023 Century Media

Track listing
1. The Wretched; The Ruinous 4:20
2. Cremation of the Living 3:20
3. Eradicator 3:28
4. Mother Betrayal 3:32
5. Invictus 3:45
6. Call of Existence 3:33
7. Dawn of the Militant 2:57
8. Aniara 0:57
9. Into the Abyss 3:24
10. Broken Arrow 2:51
11. Theaters of War 4:49

Band members
Trevor Phipps – vocals
Buz McGrath – guitars
Chris O’Toole – bass
Mike Justian – drums

Album Review – Olde / Pilgrimage (2021)

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, one of the most hardworking bands of the Canadian scene returns with another round of their acid Doom Metal in their third full-length album.

Patiently awaiting for their next victim on the darkest corners of Malton, a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, located to the northwest of Toronto, the unrelenting Doom Metal entity known as Olde is back in action after four long years with their third full-length opus, entitled Pilgrimage, following up on the heaviness, aggression and madness of their 2017 album Temple. Written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Olde, with all production and mastering being done by the band’s own guitarist Greg Dawson at BWC Studios in Kingston, Ontario, displaying an apocalyptic artwork by Alexandre Goulet, and featuring guests Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (of Voivod) and Nichol S. Robertson on the guitars and Nick Teehan on saxophone, Pilgrimage will smash your cranial skull mercilessly, showcasing all the passion for doom by vocalist Doug McLarty, guitarists Chris Hughes and Greg Dawson, bassist Cory McCallum and drummer Ryan Aubin.

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, the sluggish beats by Ryan dictate the pace in the massive title-track Pilgrimage, with Chris and Greg extracting sheer obscurity from their axes while Doug delivers his usual roars for our total delight, whereas accelerating their pace like a behemoth of doom, Cory’s rumbling, low-tuned bass will pierce your soul in A New King, while the guitars by Chris and Greg exhale dementia and darkness from start to finish in a great display of Sludge and Doom Metal. Then we have Medico Della Peste, an awesome creation by those five talented Canadians bringing to our ears everything we love in Doom and Stoner Metal, including slow and steady beats, dirty riffs, soulful solos and the trademark raspy vocals by Doug; and the sharp but very delicate sound of their guitars is a thing of beauty in the atmospheric In Defiance, with Cory and Ryan generating a sinister wall of sounds with their bass jabs and classic drums, sounding perfect for breaking your neck headbanging.

More of the band’s classic Doom Metal is offered to our avid ears in The Dead Hand, once again dragging us down to the underworld, showcasing wicked lyrics barked by Doug while his bandmates make sure every single space in the air is filled with insanity, not to mention the sick sax solo by guest Nick Teehan. Then the tribal drums by Ryan ignite the damned feast entitled Depth Charge, tailored for admirers of the genre, bringing forward a violent yet melodic guitar solo to enhance our senses and with Doug once again leading his demented horde with his deep voice. In Under Threatening Skies we’re treated to over six minutes of first-class Canadian doom spearheaded by the visceral riffage by Chris and Greg together with the thunderous bass by Cory, resulting in an awesome composition that lives up to the legacy of old school Doom Metal; whereas raw riffs and slow, primeval beats kick off the closing tune Wastelands, where a menacing sonority flows slowly and majestically until the very end with Doug once again screaming in anger and pain, putting a vintage ending to the album.

After all is said and done, you’ll be more than tempted to succumb to the most doomed side of music together with Olde, with Pilgrimage representing another awesome step in their already solid career. Hence, don’t forget to follow those Canadian metallers on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream their damned catalogue on Spotify, and to put your dirty hands on a copy of Pilgrimage by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Sludgelord Records’ BandCamp page or from the Seeing Red Records’ webstore. Let’s all walk together with Olde on their journey of doom to the sound of their newborn spawn, showing the entire world that whenever their music sounds as heavy, grim, unfriendly and sluggish as it can be, that means it’s mission accomplished for such hardworking band of doom from the Great White North .

Best moments of the album: A New King, Medico Della Peste and Under Threatening Skies.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Sludgelord Records/Seeing Red Records

Track listing
1. Pilgrimage 5:03
2. A New King 5:20
3. Medico Della Peste 4:05
4. In Defiance 6:44
5. The Dead Hand 5:11
6. Depth Charge 3:47
7. Under Threatening Skies 6:08
8. Wastelands 5:44

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Chris Hughes – guitars
Greg Dawson – guitars
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums, guitar solos

Guest musicians
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – guitars
Nichol S. Robertson – guitars
Nick Teehan – saxophone