WoundPicture a grotty three lane highway decked out with vast arrays of death metal bands from all quarters of the planet. In the first lane you have those bands that sit there churning out the odd album hoping for a chance to get out of the slow lane and get some recognition outside of their own region. In the middle lane we have those acts that have a fair few albums out, people know who they are, they wear their shirts, buy the odd bit of product and have probably seen them live locally or on a support slot somewhere. Now the fast lane is pretty full these days with acts that have reformed and used their name to jump the queue, those that have been going for ages and always release excellent albums and some hit the fast lane like a fucking juggernaut careering a path and bulldozing anything not up to the mark off the road unceremoniously and that is what Germany’s Wound have done with this their debut album after only being in existence for a couple of years. Now this is a big claim to make I admit but each time I have listened to “Inhale The Void” it takes me back to albums like “Left Hand Path”, “Into The Grave” and “Like An Ever Flowing Stream” such is its unfettered brilliance.

After the intro the album chainsaws its way into your gut with “Codex Arcanum” and yes Swedeath is the name of the gut gurgling game here. Yawns abound from aficionados of the scene thinking they’ve heard it all before and to some extent you’d be right, but this release is a violent, feral assault on your senses that you will be reeling from each listen you undertake of it. The vocals are suitably barbaric but delivered with beastly clarity. The riff break and cymbal smash are unreservedly immense especially when followed by the insane blast. Every tune here possesses a cracking monstrous riff as the chainsaw is in full revs by now and as we hit “Echoes” the pulverising is merciless. My passion for groove in death metal is well and truly fixed on this album with “Forever Denial” unleashing a riff so catchy it will leave you dumbfounded.

“Corroded From Within” is pure and simply battering but with massive volumes of groove being used to humungous perfection. Influentially I would say this lies closer to the Grave side of things to give you something to gnaw on as “Among You” is obliterating in its steadfast ruthlessness. It really is a monster of a song and matched by plenty of variations in pace and violent tempo. 2013 has been packed with killer death metal albums and half way through this is a fucking beast of an album to match anything put out this year and I defy you not to be blown away by it.

(9/10 Martin Harris)