Review: “Matricide” by Old Wharf

Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, “Matricide” is either the debut full length album from Wolverhampton Beatdown Deathcore crew Old Wharf or a sophomore EP as at seven cuts for seven deadly sins it qualifies as a full length on streaming services. What it does is follow their March 2019 EP “Reside” out of hells gate two years and four standalone singles later. The band have played shows anywhere and everywhere in that time and even had the pleasure of being joined by Ben Mason of Bound In Fear and Pintglass fame on “I Am Plague” along the way. Comprising vocalist Hayden Shemilt, guitarist duo Josh Loveridge and Ben Richardson alongside bassist Callum Arthurs and drummer Sam Davies they’ve proven to be a force to be reckoned with, a true Beast from the Black Country…

…If you thought it wasn’t possible for Old Wharf to get darker, denser and heavier than they did with “Reside” then guess again as with “Matricide” the quintet turn everything up to the brutal level, switching copies of “Goose Bumps” for the latest Stephen King offering and bringing the hammer down on skulls. They’ve been building up to this one with singles which have seen them change up their sound to sand off those rough edges and smooth everything out and the result is nothing short of an adrenaline rush of a mosh pit call to arms. No time is wasted, there is no fat to trim off, the album is straight to the point and as brutal as they come. As with the best in the genre, its all about tempo shifts and how smoothly they can execute the moves between Downtempo chugs and Deathcore breakdowns while the myriad of guests join Shemilt in spitting pure fire. The opening cut “Alteri Fides Est Forma Odio” which loosely translates from the Latin as “Despite another faith in” and sets things off in an arty kind of fashion, purely building the black atmospheric with distorted spoken words and a bloodcurdling gargled Slam roar before the Downtempo chug-a-thon that is “Monument Of Waste” kicks in. Bone crushing riffs and huge chunky basslines bring the message home as the downfall of mankind is depicted in the eyes of self destruction and Barney Warner parachutes in for a final verse that adds weight and gravity to an already punishing cut that will no doubt see more than its fair share of hammers thrown live.

Shemilt’s vocal range on the purely unclean side is phenomenal, he’s got everything in his locker you could want out of a Metal vocalist and he lets loose on “Manufactured Decay” and as the band experiment with tempos to dramatic effect, he sounds off about the World with thinly veiled socially, politically and environmentally aware lyrics that you might not expect to be underpinning such a monster. Arguably the most Slam heavy is “Systemic Abuser” as Shemilt goes toe to toe with Chobba in the Slam equivalent of a rap battle to see who can reach the lowest tone, which is as affective as a Samurai Sword in a Knife fight and wipes out all adversaries in a single piece of broken glass brutality that you simply have to witness to believe. The album grips like a Boa Constrictor around your neck, not letting go until you’re gasping for your final breath and bringing home the bacon is “The Fault In Our Design“, a cut which starts off fast before getting progressively slower, something which takes skill to carry off, especially live because the timing between each musician has to be spot on to avoid going out of sync and while its not complex music to do that with, that means there are absolutely no hiding places because a mistake, no matter how small, stands out like a sore thumb. Joined by a who’s who from the Underground scene, they’ve created an album that is the equivalent of moisturising with sandpaper that will make your ears bleed while you love every single minute. The only question is, do they have it in themselves to step up and join Bound In Fear? [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Alteri Fides Est Forma Odio
2. Monument Of Waste (Ft Barney Warner Of Replacer, Pintglass)
3. Manufactured Decay
4. Systemic Abuser (Ft  Michael “Chobba” Crutchley Of Suffer)
5. Death As My Witness
6. Render To Rust (Ft Andi and Josh Of Harlekin)
7. The Fault In Our Design (Ft Daniel Hounslow Of Depravity)

Matricide” by Old Wharf is out now and available over at bandcamp

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