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Wretch “Man or Machine” (Pure Steel Records)

Wretch Man or Machine

Band Site: www.wretchmetal.com
one pointhalfpoint

The opening riff of this album from Cleveland, Ohio's long standing classic heavy metal band Wretch and the overall vibe of the production takes me back to Helloween's classic “Walls of Jericho”.

The LP is a pleasant listen and an absolute 80s time machine. Juan Ricardo (vocals) sounds very close to Kiske, almost uncomfortably close. I am not a major fan of falsetto vocals and there are a few cringe-worthy moments. The guitar work of guitarists Nick Giannakos and Michael Stephenson is spectacular, although again it is a nod towards the works of Helloween.

The production is a bit on the homey side, as recorded in a home studio, especially some of the guitar overdubs feel sonically lo-fi in places. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, as it lends a live sound and takes step back from all the overproduced canned metal sounds, that we've been force-fed by major labels and the likes of producers Joey Sturgis or Andy Sneap.

This is a solid offering and if you like classical heavy metal, you'll feel right at home of that genre's heyday. Wretch also does a very competent take on “Steeler” by Judas Priest.

Favorite tracks: “Requiem Aeternam”, all of “Inquisition Trilogy”

Reviewed by A. Dorian

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