Artist: Wicked World
Album: Witch Hunt – EP
As humans, we seek explanations for just about everything—but especially things that go wrong outside of our control. There are those who say that’s the impetus for the creation of religion, but it is most definitely the reason for the launch of witch hunts and trials in the mid-1600s. We looked for things we could use as scapegoats for travesties that occurred well beyond our own means—we looked for a source of evil. With their sophomore EP, it’s safe to say that if Wicked World were waging war on listeners in 1650’s New England, the settlers would have found all he evil they needed. Witch Hunt is comprehensive aggression and magnificent malevolence—it sees Wicked World building from As I Decay, strengthen and refining their most unique elements and expanding upon their songwriting ability with ease and expertise. From segments of slamming brutality to riff-driven ruthlessness and everything in between, Witch Hunt will have you burning at the stake or subject to the Witches Hammer before you even get through the first song.
2016, for more reasons than I can put into one article, is an outstanding year for music—especially heavy music. Where many attribute deathcore’s “rebirth” to the return of Despised Icon, there is indeed much more to the genre’s Renaissance than everyone’s favorite Canadian crushers, and it begins with Wicked World. While the group have been at the helm of deathcore’s painstaking return since the release of As I Decay, Witch Hunt sees them truly unleashing their true potential upon the metal-loving masses. Built on Josh Kanute’s lacerating blast beats and bold slams, beefed up by Matthew Tucholke’s tremendous bass guitar and filled out by Chris Easton’s eviscerating fretwork, the band’s sophomore EP is a seven track display of smothering, sinister deathcore—bar none. Kanute’s drumming from the first kick drum smack of “Panic” sets the mood for an absolutely manic release—oscillating back and forth between quick, pummeling verses and punchy, punishing breakdowns and slams that could topple entire mountains. However monstrous Kanute’s drumming may be—especially during the devastating and anthemic “Dogmother”—he is never alone, as Tucholke’s ten-ton bass is his shadow. Tucholke adds heft and heaviness to every pattern Kanute lays down—but also bolsters Easton’s energetic guitar work. From the panic chords (which Wicked World bring back in stellar fashion) on the aptly named “Panic,” to the self-same track’s sweeps and the solos or riffs that drop into slams on “Burn Victim” and “WatchYouSleep,” Easton’s fretwork is nothing short of fantastic—especially with Tucholke’s earth-trembling tone behind him. “Dogmother” deserves a special mention when it comes to Easton—as the dirge-like, distinctly doom-influenced groove at the end sounds like something one might expect in the soundtrack to a film adaptation of a Tolkien novel—lurid, sludgy and sublimely catchy.
Where Wicked World’s instrumentation is both more diverse and more devastating than ever heard before, frontman Alex Miller has also stepped his game up just as much—if not more so. Miller, who has always been above capable vocally, is now excellent, reaching out of his comfort zone on “WatchYouSleep” and “I Am The Grey” to find new ways to rip the listener’s ears clean off their face. Where the aforementioned are examples of Miller’s range expanding, “Crowd of Horns” and “Pack of Teeth” see him mastering his more rudimentary vocal styles, creating catchy mosh calls and anthemic screams that span stellar riffs and bone-splintering slams. “Pack of Teeth” is especially guilty—as when Miller bellows “I’ll make you wish…”, the listener can feel the pure misanthropy and malevolence seeping from his voice. However Miller’s expanded styles and intense delivery are not without minor pitfalls—or rather, a singular pitfall. His nearly-acapella delivery of “they say sleep is for the weak/but I am/so weak for you” sounds ever so slightly forced and, no pun intended, weak without a rhyme to reinforce its catchiness. This aside, Miller’s vocal delivery and lyricism puts him neck and neck with many of heavy music’s biggest names, showing him as not just competent, but comprehensively talented.
Witch Hunt is a wicked display of loathing, lacerating bitterness and bone-busting brutality. Wicked World work together like an Olympic team, winning gold when it comes to combining beatdown, heavy hardcore, death and black metal with a love of straightforward deathcore and a take-no-prisoners attitude. From the mosh-inducing anthem “Panic” through the dirging “Dogmother” and to the last echoing note of “I Am the Grey,” Wicked World—led by Miller, who has truly developed almost immeasurably from I Am Decay and Sewer both—have become contenders for some of 2016’s most devastating deathcore musicians. Proficient at everything from punishing slams to relentless riffsmithing and everything in between, Witch Hunt sees Wicked World ending their own hunt for their true sound and identity.
For Fans Of: Sermos, Dying Fetus, Despised Icon, The Red Chord, Whitechapel
By: Connor Welsh