BAND URL: https://www.flamingwrekage.com/

Melodic death metal was the eagle of choice for the hardcore bands of the late 90s and early 2000s who had decided to save heavy metal from its successful grunge, alternative and nü metal triple attack, bands like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Unearth, Darkest Hour and, later, Trivium, who married melodeath and hardcore so seamlessly they deserved an award they have yet to receive. At the same time, some other acts, having started as hardcore metal, decided to largely abandon it for groove metal a’la Pantera, acts such as Lamb Of God and God Forbid. It’s mostly that latter pack that seems to have inspired the Australian quartet Flaming Wrekage (stylized with a purposeful typo) with its, too, seamless amalgamate of melodeath and groove, but Lachlan Campbell (bass), Dave Lupton (2009-lead vocals, rhythm guitars), Justin Humphry (2014-guitars) and Matt Thornton (2017-drums) refuse to simplify their sound acquiring some metalcore and thrash in such a smart way that it would be a stretch to tag them as metalcore or thrash, although they are clearly influenced by Darkest Hour and God Forbid, on one hand, and Testament and Machine Head, on the other, to sound metalcorish and thrashy. Their 4th full length, Terra Inferna²⁰²⁴ (Latin: Hell On Earth) released on April 26th via Grindhead Records (after Catharsis²⁰¹³, From Flesh To Dust²⁰¹⁷ and Cathedral Of Bones²⁰²¹), a very good album with somewhat inconsistent songwriting, is a testament (no pun intended) to that unique genre bending without crossing ability.

The first thing that hit me from the first application (which is currently the only one before taking notes, where it used to be two) is that the first half is significantly batter than the second. Pretty much from “Nightmare Architect (Mega Tates)” – where the ingenious paradox of life that tempts to “abandon all hope” and “sever this rotting rope” while we ask ourselves “why abandon all hope” and “sever this rotting rope” brings Depeche Mode’s “it all seems so stupid it makes me want to give up, but why should I give up when it all seems so stupid” from “Shame” – through the The Black Dahlia Murder-ous title track (in English) and heavily Darkest Hour-ly “No Gods” (who had the same titled song which suggests a purposeful analogy) – with its standard fare atheist metallers’ declaration of one “reborn with no gods and no masters” who answers to “none above” and bows to “none below” (well, you kind of bow down to Machine Head’s sophomore baby here) – up to the perfect Iron Maidenish favorite “Blood and Bone (FGB)” – where “once loyal, diehard disciples come undone worshiping false idols” – we are treated to very catchy, superbly written and infectiously melodic representation of Flaming Wrekage’s songwriting prowess.

It is precisely with the surprisingly Tool-ish “Ghosts” that the album takes a nosedive, not one substantial enough to stop listening, but it, “Paralysis” and the Machine Head-y “Enduring Decay” show a more experimental face of the album, with fewer hooks but more elements, say, hovering generally around 4.5/6 quality, sounding more like instrumentals with vocals than songs, but, thankfully, fully recovering for the excellent closer “Our Own Blood” where the melodies and verse/chorus structure harken back to the first half, which, by the way, starts with a good but not great opener “Witch Hunt” bringing the last Detonation (Reprisal²⁰¹¹) to mind for the lack of memorability.

In summary, Flaming Wrekage can write incredibly memorable songs, such as “Blood and Bone (FGB)”, but the more experimental stuff like “Ghosts” shows their tendency for experimentation while avoiding the standard verse/chorus structure, all of which may force a conclusion that they are still searching for their perfect sound. Hopefully, as they find that elusive balance, album no.5 will combine the two approaches for better results.

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