Wickeds End – “Reformation”


reformation_82eThe 1990’s Death/thrash metal band Wickeds End has reformed and released a new full length album, Reformation (irony?).

Sometimes bands have quite a story and Wickeds End may be another on that list, especially when you consider the band going all the way back to 1992.  In the early 90’s the band made appearances on both a Tooth & Nail Records sampler, Various Noize vol. 1 and on Heaven’s Metal Hard Music vol. 1, both coming out in 1994.  During that time, appearances like that would often lead to some type of deal on some label be it a larger one like Tooth & Nail or one of several smaller Christian labels that handled metal.  Fast forward to January 2016 and Wickeds End releases their self-mixed and mastered full length Reformation on Sky Burns Black Records.

One of the first things I noticed in listening to the album was the presence of a good bit of groove in the heavy riffs and some doom elements that reminded me a good bit of Black Sabbath.  Not at all what I was expecting. “Divine Annointing” opens up the album and initially, there is that heavy groove and around the 1:40 mark in the song, there is the Sabbath riff to change the direction of the song.  Vocals are perhaps a bit quiet at times in the mix and mostly they stay with a deep death growl but do switch up at times with near shrieking that would sound more at home on a black metal album.  Yes, all of this is happening within the first song.  “Breath of the Prophet” begins almost immediately after the first song ends and if you miss the end of “Divine Annointing” you may think “Breath of the Prophet” is the same song as they are a bit similar.

Looking through the band’s lyrics, they are very upfront about their Christian beliefs and their view of the fallen state of man.  No need for carefully crafted analogies here, Wickeds End chooses brutal honesty more along the lines of grindcore than what one typically hears in death metal.  Topics range from the consequences of sin to Jonah’s mission to Ninevah to Armageddon and as such fit the heavy brutality of the music.

Songs like “The Destroyer”, “March of the Broken”, “Voice of God”, and “Theories of Lies” all have some great opening riffs and sections of brilliance in the songs, but just when I was really starting to get into things, the songs change direction a bit and all momentum for me is lost.  “Destroyer” is one of the best examples of this for me as it opens up with this great, heavy, dirty mid-tempo, groovy riff, but then abruptly jumps into a verse section which is very chaotic and dissonant.  Throw in some doom bit and then a return to that great riff and awkward change for verses and you have an idea of how many of the songs on Reformation proceed.  The album ends with the title track that was recorded very differently than the rest of the album and is very thin and a bit tinny

Wickeds End have changed their sound considerably since the days in the mid-90’s when they recorded songs like “Thrashing Pilgrims” which sounds a bit like Anthrax of that era.  Wickeds End in 2016 is a full on death metal experience with touches of groove and doom but missing the thrash and distinct vocals of the 90’s version, which really worked very well.  Perhaps as the band would want, you have to take this incarnation as a new project, but given the song arrangements and elements incorporated it is one that seems to be still searching for their sound.

For those wanting to know the full story of the band, there is a full-length documentary movie about their early rise and disintegration called The Whirlwind (https://youtu.be/VQC-GjsGJpc).

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by John Jackson

01. Divine Anointing
02. Breath of the Prophet
03. Mortifier
04. The Destroyer
05. Lord of Hosts
06. March of the Broken
07. Feast of the Birds
08. Voice of God
09. Theories of Lies
10. Reformation

Band Members:
Andrew Crippen – Bass
John Andrew Dixon – Vocals
Glenn Rowlands – Guitar
Justin Sigler-Smalz – Drums

Weblinks: Bandcamp / Website / Facebook 

Record Label: SkyBurns Black Records, April 2016

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

‘Breath of the Prophet’ on Soundcloud:

Video below: ‘Reformation’ (demo version)


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