Review: “Self Titled” by Wild Beyond

They say that the first bite is often with the eye and in the case of the debut album from Philadelphia nihilistic Blackened Thrash Metal trio Wild Beyond you only need to look at the cover art from the acclaimed Adam Burke (Angel Witch, Eternal Champion, Temple Of Void) to get excited about what it might entail. The story goes that after five years of not playing, guitarist and vocalist Edward Gonet (Deava, ex-Infernal Stronghold) impulse-purchased a Randy Rhodes Flying V guitar and began composing. A year later, with songs and riffs under his belt, Gonet was introduced to his co-conspirators in bassist, keyboardist and guitarist Jimmy Viola and drummer Evan Madden (ex-Woe and Woods of Ypres) through Sonja drummer Grzesiek Czapla. The trio then set about bringing those visions to life with Gonet recording demos in his basement and the band rehearsing in the Kensington area of Philadelphia to complete them. Lyrically while open to interpretation, Gonet is said to be inspired by his own personal Isengard, a lust for Satan, death in deep space and misery…

Raw and powerful, as if recorded in a basement torture chamber hell on the hottest day of the year after days without water while suffering from narcolepsy, “In The Footsteps of Mars” begins a tirade of sonic abuse with divine bedlam. Chaotic and avant-garde in nature, the album opener is of kilter with odd time signatured riffs and volatile drumming that reels you in and takes you on a white knuckle thrill ride to hell and back. There are points at which the train threatens to derail, teetering on the edge of the abyss before being pulled violently back with rich and maddening melodies that feel like the hallucinations in an exploitation movie following the ingestion of substances unknown. The raw abrasions continue with “Detonation of Secret Works“, the band being as they describe themselves – wild. Gonet’s vocals are on the feral side of what you might expect if the band hailed from frostbitten Norwegian forests and yet there are also moments of melancholia that soak through the material, like Imperial Triumphant on steroids. There a little more of the Black ‘n Roll of bands like Sadistic Force in¬†“Frenzied at the Skull“, parts of which sound like the perfect riff for a Quentin Tarantino movie. Remaining as frenetic in approach, this one benefits from being less chaotic and a little cleaner sounding when compared with the pair – and no, there is zero chance they used any form of click track when creating this madness. Dirge laden riffs bring a different angle to “Arctic Stargate” which has a certain majesty to it as it plays out, reflecting the cover art and giving us one of the albums finest moments.

The second half of the album takes to flight with “Sculpting The Abyss” which finds Gonet continuing to spit caustic acid venom as he desecrates the ear drums once more. Turbulent and violent, this one has an eclectic edge with Viola bringing some funk to the bass lines while eerie sounds echo from the darkness in the final moments, sounding like the dying cries of Mammoth like beasts. Darkly majestic, “Antichrist Coronation” has a surprising scorching solo running through it, Madden providing enough jackhammer footwork to reduce surrounding buildings to rubble. It has to be said that his drumming is incredible throughout the record as he has clearly pushed himself to his absolute limits in terms of both speed and dexterity, bridging the gap between man and machine on numerous occasions. Adopting a storytelling style for “Radio Burst Dark Origins“, Gonet enhances the quirky and eccentric riffs in fine fashion, although the brain may struggle to take in the mastery of this one in its complete form on the first few listens. It’s not what is on the surface but what lies beneath that is where the real charm of this nightmare is found.¬†Darkly cinematic, “Exit Wounds” is the twisted science fiction horror soundscape that night terrors are made of with acoustic guitars and orchestration intertwining to perfection, bending the mind into ugly shapes… [7/10]

Track Listing

1. In The Footsteps of Mars
2. Detonation of Secret Works
3. Frenzied at the Skull
4. Arctic Stargate
5. Sculpting The Abyss
6. Antichrist Coronation
7. Radio Burst Dark Origins
8. Exit Wounds

Self Titled” by Wild Beyond is out 14th April 2023 via Gates of Hell Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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