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Wetwork > Temple of Red > Reviews
Wetwork - Temple of Red

These Red Walls Are Still Wet… - 77%

bayern, July 7th, 2018

It took me quite a while to track down this album, being a big fan of the band and all, and it took me even more a while to adjust to its style as it was nothing like the steely intricate thrash/deathy one of the next two instalments. At this early stage the guys (and a girl) were more interested in the accumulation of atmosphere and side-effects than in the creation of actual music.

Mentioning side-effects, there are numerous voice, film/news and what-have-you samples scattered throughout reducing the number of fulsome compositions to just seven altogether, the whole amalgam amounting to just under half an hour. The immediate plus given to this effort is that it tries to capture the dark brooding aura of past recordings like Celtic Frost’s “Vanity/Nemesis” and Fear of God’s "Within the Veil”, not a very common phenomenon on the scene at all, I mean outside the strictly gothic metal shenanigans. As is the case with these two mentioned outings, we can’t talk about full surrender to the thrash metal canons, the album following its own trajectory, also coming close to the 90’s Megadeth stylistic non-excesses here and there, with some resemblance with the famed Americans in the vocal department as well, the diva behind the mike, the name Kristen "Doc" Parker, calling Dave Mustaine to mind at times with her semi-clean, mean manly croons.

The girl is given more lyrical freedom on "I Caught an Angel by the Wings", a nice doomy semi-ballad with haunting keyboard tunes the latter gimmick not encountered elsewhere although it could have fitted perfectly the relaxed progressive rock hymn "Staining the Shine", the only totally off-context proposition here, overshadowed by the intimidating sombre thrashisms on "Presence Distilled" which would have been a highlight even on the mentioned Fear of God opus. The title-track is the only overtly modern track, winking at the passing decade with its abrasive industrial flair which still works, mind you, especially when boosted by vigorous technical thrashterpieces like "The Executioners Song", an immaculate shredder with contrived galloping surges that would have qualified for “Rust in Peace” with ease.

An interesting, not very predictable layout that definitely has its flaws, these annoying samples by far the most glaring one, which works fine as a first showing regardless of how different it sounds compared to what followed suit. The band were testing the soil, not certain which path to follow with bigger dedication, but again the final result is by no means a weak inauguration showing more influences than just the good old metal, and most importantly introduced this deep atmospheric clout that the band used successfully for the next two albums.

A lot of changes took place for the sophomore the delivery having become much more aggressive with thrash and death metal married underneath more technical fireworks, and with Parker acquiring a much scarier, deathy baritone to suit the brutal musical template. Both works are highly recommended for fans of the unusual and the unorthodox with “New Start Human” more thrash-fixated and more melodic, with the shadow of Dawn Crosby’s (R.I.P.) gang time and again still looming prominently; and with “Synod” closer to the precise meticulous technical shredding of the death metal cohorts from the guys’ (and a girl) homeland.

The band are still active after a short split-up that took place in 2013, and hopefully the Holy Synod will have another temple erected in its honour, with the walls traditionally painted in red.

Wetwork - Temple Of Red - 30%

ConorFynes, December 12th, 2011

Before becoming the female-fronted death metal band that they as best known as, Wetwork was something quite different; a cross of grunge rock and thrash. 'Temple Of Red' is the debut album from this Canadian band, and being one those who first heard the band on their latest album 'Synod', it came as something of a surprise to hear the band playing such a different style of music. As I was expecting though, the music is roughly made and lacks much in the way of tact or aim, a weakness that the band has suffered from over the course of their three albums. A very loose concept piece, 'Temple Of Red' is an attack on deistic faith and religion that ultimately bores, and feels like a lukewarm rehash of other bands' ideas, rather than something new.

Although there are fourteen tracks here, half of these consist of interludes, pieces of dialogue that Wetwork have sampled in order to get some sort of running narrative going. Most of these dialogue pieces are from Christian evangelicals, and from what I can tell, I think that Wetwork is trying to underline their hypocrisy, or something. Really, the band's attack on religion feels superficial more than anything, and- need I even say- the whole 'religious criticism' thing has gone a little overboard by this point with metal. All the same, it does create a sense of flow to the album, and it makes it a little better than a mere collection of songs.

When it comes to the music itself, I was surprised, yet very underwhelmed. Parts of this (particularly the track 'Staining The Shine') gave me a Soundgarden vibe, while much of the rest had a distinct Megadeth feel to it, circa their 'Countdown To Extinction' album. The vocalist here (a male, not female) sounds like he's trying to emulate Dave Mustaine's nasal attitude-heavy voice, and while he does it well enough for a listener to easily draw the comparison, the actual singing here is lacking. It takes until the fourth track for there to even be a semblance of metal here, and when there is something 'metal' sounding, it's very poorly produced, and the distorted guitars suffer from a very muffled sound, as if they were jamming a room away from the actual recording equipment. Instrumentally, the most interesting thing here are the clean guitars, which are plain, but functional, and Wetwork uses these cleaner tones alot here. For anyone thinking they were receiving a heavy album here, think again; 'Temple Of Red' probably has more to do with alternative rock music than metal, and uninspired alt rock at that.

Wetwork give a disappointing introduction here, although it is interesting that they made such a drastic change in their sound. All the same, this is quite a weak release, and it fails to strike me in any particularly positive way.