WRVTH, White Oak Music & Arts, May 6, 2015
As Wrvth (pronounced WRATH) entered the domain of White Oak Music and Arts, the walls were still left in ruin after the pure destruction that was So This Is Suffering’s set just prior to Wrvth. Where the few fans left were expecting to hear more brutality, Wrvth arrived onto the stage with a completely fresh sound that would breathed a cool breeze into the lungs of White Oak. They would not play any older material written and released under their prior alias, Wrath of Vesuvius (anyone watch The Rocker?), but rather, play brand new material off of their upcoming, unreleased album. No one was about to expect what would come next…
Wrvth began our calming descent into calamity with a track titled “Into Bloom“. Where the crowd expected breakdowns, Wrvth supplied jaw dropping technicality blended together with beautiful melodic passages, dashed with flesh tearing speeds, draped in blood pumping brutality, and garnished with larnyx shredding screams you could hear from Wendy’s a few doors down. No one, no one, has ever pulled off a sound that took elements of progressive metal, death metal, metalcore, blackened death metal, melodic metal, among other genres, and blended them all together to create a sound as unique, beautiful, and fresh as Wrvth’s new sound. The show became less about who was heavier and the most brutal and more about being a part of an experience that allowed the audience to lose themselves for a slight period of time. Such an amazing first introduction for many unfamiliar listeners was then followed up with the single “HarrowingWinds“.
“HarrowingWinds” was the “metalcore” song of the set, where there were influences of August Burns Red, thrown in with influences of The Faceless (if that was even possibe). The more you listened and watched the performers on stage, you began to notice the look in their eyes as they allowed themselves to get lost in the music. You began to compare the vocals of Thomas Vasquez to that of Sam Carter of Architects, and you began to compare Thomas’s stage presence to that of one Jason Aalon Butler of letlive.. Amidst the chaos of the blast beats and the technical riffs were beautiful and masterfully written leads performed by the demigod duo of Marcus Vasquez and Jeremy Larsen on guitars. Once we entered the calming groove passage of the song, you knew that you were weren’t just watching a band play; you were watching artists perform a masterpiece in front of your eyes. The following songs “Looming Sigil” and “Ongoing Dissension“, you were reminded of another important factor in the masterpiece; Joseph Serrano, the Dean Karnazes of Wrvth.
In “Looming Sigil” and “Ongoing Dissension“, you watched as the band descended further into madness as they traveled across more borders, both sonically, and literally on stage. Wrvth began to present influenes of shoegaze black metal (ala Hope Drone), well thought out presentations of songwriting influenced by so many genres, it’s like they invented the sound themselves (not unlike the OC’s I, Of Helix), and very skilled usage of time signatures and progressive metal songwriting, proving that you can sound progressive without ripping off Animals as Leaders. However, in observing them, you were reminded of what you knew all along; Joseph Serrano must be possessed. As the backbone of Wrvth, Joseph Serrano made it more apparent as time went on that he could play whatever he set his mind too. Blistering blasts, black metal/thrash beats, grooves, simple passages, jazz style drumming, ghost notes, you name it, he could play it, and did. What stood out was that while his brethren were losing their minds, Joseph remained cool and collected, even when he was bashing the snare drum at uber high velocities.
Along with vocalist Thomas Vasquez, bassist and back up vocalist Taylor Preston was down in the depths of insanity as well, screaming his heart out, adding to Thomas’s sound, all while playing his groovy and intricate basslines to perfection. His stomps made the earth shake, and his head bang was so hard, it almost seemed something tragic was about to happen. Instead, you were brought along for the ride, and the audience was thrilled to be apart of it. As blackened blast beats and bar chords were played, and spacy, serene passages were reintroduced, you began to notice that the vocals did not overpower any instrument, and no instrument drowned out any other. They were one, one sound, one force, one experience, very comparable to the experience of watching Deafheaven for the first time.
As the final track “Endless Haze” began to take its run, you began to reflect on what you had just experienced in watching Wrvth. Ferocious brutality, artery defiling precision and intricacy, blistering riffs and solos, sweet serenity, a wall of at least 5 lighters, clapping, groovy and bouncy riffs and beats, 4 truly skilled musicians, and a madman on his hands and knees screaming his heart out into the microphone for the world to hear. It was almost like watching your life pass before your eyes in a delightful reflection, while enjoying the final moments of a satisfyingly unhinged life. Once they finally finished, and their bodies were finally calmed back down into our realm, the audience could do nothing but applaud their efforts to try to impress anyone who laid eyes on them. Wrvth poured their hearts out, and in doing so, not only did they rebuild the destruction So This Is Suffering left behind, by God, they built an empire on top of it.
(Review by Alfredo Hernandez – Photos by Talia Farber)
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