Tramortiria – Wrath Among The Dead
Wrath Among The Dead
Time to once again move away from the typical epic, melody driven music we often cover, and back to something more brutal. Whether or not that word could best be used to describe the heaviness of the album, or the quality, well…I’m a little bit torn on this one. As I said previously, death/thrash can be very hit and miss for me, and if The Kandidate and their debut was an example of a solid hit, then unfortunately Wrath Among The Dead, from the Italian thrashers Tramortiria, is much closer to being a miss. There’s the occasional moment where I can really feel the band is on to something, but those bursts are few and far between, scattered among less inspired and often overlong sequences I just wish would end.
The biggest problem I have is that the band seems so focused on creating punishing riffs that they often forget that music is supposed to be enjoyable (editor’s note: Hey, it’s like black metal!), and instead we just get overly long portions with the exact same slow to mid-tempo riff that isn’t all that impressive the first time, so having to hear it continuously for a few minutes is not fun in the least. Part of this is definitely a matter of taste, as when I listen to thrash I’m generally in the mood for something fast and fun that will really get my head moving, but I’m just not nearly as responsive to something this slow. Though I think the length of some of the songs here is likely to be a problem for most, as no full song (there’s an intro, a short instrumental and a weird interlude with voiceovers), is under five minutes. For something so basic it quickly becomes too much to deal with.
Making matters worse, it takes a little while for the album to get going. After the intro comes the six and a half minute opener “1936”, where the slow and repetitive riffs I referred to strike in full force. I could tell I wasn’t going to enjoy the song right from the beginning, and aside from a nice solo it is quite a chore to listen to. At times the album got so boring that on my first listen I completely forgot hearing a couple particular songs, and knew nothing about them before going through the album again (the seven and a half minute “Deep Forest Night”, is especially guilty of this, since it took three listens for me to remember much of anything). But the worst song has got to be the incredibly stupidly named “Blood Buster”, and its extremely weak opening sequence: The first thing heard is a ridiculously drawn out scream of “I want your blood!”, accompanied by an annoying screechy guitar sound and terrible blast beats. Nothing else about the song is quite so painful, but it is just as plodding as most.
The one real bright spot is the vocals. Tony De Marco utilizes a fairly harsh vocal style, somewhere in between the typical thrash vocals and a death growl, but not quite one or the other. On a couple of songs (most notably the opener), he makes a sort of grunt sound at the end of sentences, similar to what Disturbed frontman David Draiman often does, which adds a bit of fun and energy to the often dull music around him. He even does clean vocals once in a while, and he’s surprisingly good at them. Actually, part of my problem with the album is that the portions with clean vocals are often by far the best, which is not a good sign it the band is supposed to be playing a mix of death and thrash (though the latter is definitely the main genre here).
As harsh as I’ve been, there are some highlights. “World Of Fashion” is the fastest of the bunch, and is some pretty solid old-school thrash. The best has to be “Face To Face”, an extreme oddity in that it’s mostly a ballad, showcasing Tony’s surprisingly sweet and emotional clean vocals, with a really cool fast section partway through that brings the energy level up. All in all, it avoids the pitfalls the majority of the album falls into, and is quite a treat. The nine minute closer, “Enigma”, is quite similar, and while it has nothing as memorable as the chorus or that aforementioned speedy instrumental section that blew me away, it’s a great song on its own. “Scoop!” is partially melodic like the other two, and partially extreme like the rest, so it’s no surprise I’m more split on that one, though I mostly like it.
I can’t say I’d be particularly excited for any future Tramortiria releases, as more often than not their songs are too slow and overly drawn out for my death/thrash tastes, but hidden among all the mediocrity is about an EP’s worth of solid material, so it wasn’t a complete waste of my time. And I will say the musicianship is solid, if unremarkable, so I’m sure those who enjoy this slower, more crushing kind of thrash could find some enjoyment here, while obviously those who don’t like the genre at all are advised to stay away.
Travis Green’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5