Thomas Haugen, better known under his moniker Samoth, is one of the key figures within the Norwegian extreme metal scene. He was a member of the legendary Emperor, but he also managed to cause quite a stir with Zyklon and Scum. His latest project is called The Wretched End in which he works together with Cosmo from Mindgrinder and former Dark Funeral skinsman Nils Fjellström. Ominous is the result of their collective work. Let’s see what it’s all about.
On Ominous Samoth and Co explore the thrash metal realm, with a couple of meaty death metal chunks for good measure. His links to black metal are never far away, although it’s more in the overall feel than an actual musical influence. Ominous is heavily influenced by thrash metal from the Bay Area, hence the surprisingly melodic character of songs like The Armageddonist, Last Judgement and The Juggernaut Theory. Despite the obvious influences The Wretched End managed to find an original twist to it.
Tracks like Of Man And Wolves, Numbered Days, With Ravenous Hunger and Zoo Human Syndrome have a distinct Zyklon feel over them, due to their mid tempo nature, Samoth’s signature twisted riffs and the slight industrial overtones. Compared to Samoth’s previous band the overall material on Ominous is slightly more melodic and much more thrash metal oriented.
Despite the quality of the individual tracks, Ominous is not without flaws. The album tends to bog down, because of the sheer multitude of tracks. One or two songs less wouldn’t have hurt. Secondly Ominous comes across as a collection of ideas thrown together, instead of a cohesive entity. This makes it a solid, yet not spectacular effort.
All in all Ominous by The Wretched End isn’t the most flashy record of the bunch. It certainly offers quality, but the album is simply too long and too incohesive for its own good. It’s a solid debut, but nothing more.
written by Raymond Westland