In places where metal is very much a niche genre, bands tend to come and go. Wrust, who hail from Gaborone, Botswana, have proven to be as resilient as desert plants (with tours to South Africa, Namibia and Italy to boot). The band has been around since 2000, and has now produced their fifth release in Intellectual Metamorphosis.
When I saw their list of influences, I was expecting a copycat (i.e. boring) sound. Instead, I found the album to be distinctive and engaging. Wrust have created songs that are catchy without compromising on power. There are many ‘earworm’ riffs and grooves that induce headbanging. The main riff from “Hate ‘Em All” has been stuck in my head for a few days now (plus the echoing drum roll in the beginning is great). The last few tracks – from “Gravedigger” to “Caress the Soul” are filled with especially catchy grooves.
The tracks on Intellectual Metamorphosis are well written – a balance is found between aural pounding and melody. The distorted and clean guitar riffs play off each other really well, as on “Spiral of Torture” and “The Day of the Sacrifice”. A good number of the solos make use of the whammy bar, but not so much as to become stale (whammy bar abuse grates on my nerves). Reverb is also used well, particularly on “Gravedigger”, where the distant, echoing riffs add to the song’s melancholy feel. In general, Wrust are good at enhancing the tone of the lyrics through the music. I picked up on the Black Sabbath influence in “The Day of the Sacrifice”, as well as on “Gravedigger”; these Sabbath-like parts were reminiscent of doom metal which comes out strongly in the slower parts of the album.
Drummer Dem Lord Master keeps the addictive grooves coming throughout. He adds some interesting fills on “Souls of the Blackened” and “The Day of the Sacrifice”. Lord Master is as competent when going flat-out with blastbeats and machine gun double bass as he is in the more restrained parts. I struggled to hear Oppy Gae’s bass guitar parts most of the time. It’s often debatable whether not being able to hear the bass is due to the mixing or the listener’s sound system. Some folk elements make an appearance in the form of drumming, singing, chanting and shakers; these fit seamlessly with the death metal elements. I hope to hear more folk influences on the next release!
Generally, the instruments are well-placed in the mix, although the clean guitar sounded a bit swamped, and as mentioned I struggled to hear the bass. Wrust provide clear evidence why they’ve survived for so long with “Intellectual Metamorphosis”. May there be many more releases of death groove goodness!
Watch the video for “Hate ‘Em All” off Intellectual Metamorphosis below:
Stream “Intellectual Metamorphosis” from Wrust‘s Bandcamp page.