Children of Wrath – No Flesh Spared
Release Date: 24th August 2017
Children of Wrath is a one man project operating out of Phoenix Arizona, playing a mixture of death and black metal, interspersed with melodic string sections and even folk tinged elements. All of which is heavily influenced by Christian themes; the lyrics on the album are all quotations taken from the bible, which provides ample subject matter to ruminate on death, the iniquities of man, war, pestilence and the like. No Flesh Spared, Children of Wrath’s debut outing is a 9 track album released by Nosral records.
Kicking off with what sounds like gunshots, the short instrumental track Legacy of Man, opens proceedings. It introduces a number of motifs that recur across the other 8 tracks of the album. The use of the strings over meaty distorted guitar riff dynamic, the use of spectral sounding choral parts and the layering of a track with sampled noises evocative of conflict, in this case the sound of falling bombs as the track concludes.
The Words, picks up where the last song left off opening up with the sound of an explosion. This then leads into more familiar Death Metal territory as the growling vocals get the song going. A little later the wail of an air raid siren is introduced which sits well with the initial breakdown of distorted guitar and pounding drums. However as this song progresses an increasing amount of elements are added which made it feel a bit cluttered, generating a cacophonous quality.
Fourth track Degenerate City has a long string intro, however when it gets going there is a good grinding riff. There is another use of the haunting choral interlude and the track ends with the sweeping sound of wind as if through the ruins of a city.
Forerunner begins with a full on aural assault which then develops into an unexpected breakdown that wouldn’t sound out of place in a folk rock act, minus the echoed drums. The song then builds up into a crescendo with tight matching voice, drum and guitar parts really hammering home the songs insistent message. This structural dynamic of introducing a differing style into the mix is also done well on the eponymous track No Flesh Spared. In this case there is an Irish sounding folky part breaking up the more obviously metal sections.
Penultimate track By Fire and Sword deploys the strings juxtaposed with hoarse vocals and heavy guitar technique seen earlier in the album. The lyrics are part shouted and part read out in a booming voice full of vengeance. The lyric video underpins images of writhing worms and skeletons with the harbinger of doom lyrics.
For me this album was a mixed bag. The songs that I felt worked best were the slightly shorter ones that didn’t have too much going on in them. The choral effect and church bell samples are overused. It’s not that most of the parts sound bad on their own but at times their positioning against one another sounds incongruous. That said when this technique works it creates an interesting dynamic and brings together disparate sounds to good effect, generating interesting soundscapes as exemplified on Forerunner and No Flesh Spared.
Recommended Track: Forerunner