The Suffering Spirit
(Good Fight Music)
I always seem to harp on originality, as really, while it’s difficult to accomplish in 2015, it’s something worth striving for. Carving your own niche not only makes you stand out in this competitive market; it also shows listeners and critics that you’re willing to color outside the lines. But what if a band colored inside the lines, but the resulting painting was a stunningly accurate recreation of the Mona Lisa? OK, so Old Wounds’ latest record (and first for Good Fight) isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but the band’s confidence and talent shine through, making The Suffering Spirit one Hell of a fun listen.
Old Wounds’ sound takes cues from a number of metalcore’s heroes. There are big touches of Converge/Trap Them-style of crust-core, a heaping bit of Eighteen Visions’ gothic chugging, with a heavy undercurrent of rage. Even when it slows down, this isn’t a plodding effort. Every song carries a hefty momentum, propelling tracks forward, only stopping to add riffs or punishing breakdowns whenever it feels necessary. The Eighteen Visions influence is actually quite curious, as the “clean” singing is rough at first listen. However, over time, the vocal delivery wears on you, like everything else Old Wounds does. Unlike most albums carved from the stone of others, repeat listens unveil new and interesting nuances. Unlike many of Old Wounds’ crusty heroes, there is a decided Black Sabbath-style riff pattern, recalling the punky metallic fun of Cancer Bats more than a few times.
Again, all this name-dropping isn’t a problem. Despite clearly coloring within the lines, Old Wounds knows what they are good at, and that’s pummeling the listener with Grade-A riffs and propulsive rhythms. This is likely to be one of the best metalcore albums of 2015 because, despite its influences, Old Wounds just wants to punish the listener in the best way possible. Like Cancer Bats and Eighteen Visions, the band understands that moments of melody are necessary, and boy does the band bring everything but the kitchen sink for The Suffering Spirit. It’s a curious joy that permeates Old Wounds’ latest record. Sure, the band members might be suffering in spirit, but they are reveling in the joy of producing such dismal sounds. (Nicholas Senior)