It’s sophomore time for Germany’s Wound, and they hit the nail on the head with ‘Engrained’, a potent mix of black and death metal, with enough traditional styling and spot-on production to satisfy everyone.

Following on from 2013’s ‘Inhale The Void’ this record pretty much continues in the same vein, and will no doubt illicit the same remarks about the Swedish death metal sound and At The Gates comparisons, but so what, here Wound have crafted a rip-roaring work of darkness and chaos. Taken in that respect, ‘Engrained’ succeeds admirably.

The opening cut ‘I Am Havoc’ bleeds pure black venom, with a hint of Behemoth and Watain. The track manages to shift several gears throughout, but stays true to its title, while ‘The Gateway To Madness’ shows off Schettler’s impressive guttural vocals.

The furious screech of ‘Thy Wrath And Fire’ contains the kind of garage riffs that Behexen used to do so well, and the trad gallop of ‘Morbid Paradigm’ features great dual guitar work from Last and Friederichs, and the over-driven bass gets a chance to stick it’s neck out during the D-beat madness of ‘Carrion’.

…If you need any proof of how tight a unit Wound actually are, then check out the drumming on the track ‘Of Non Serviam’…More restrained, but pin-point deadly. A perfect way to break up the return to D-beat destruction on ‘The Plague’.

Here, the snaking riffs and glorious Motörhead tones provide a devastating backdrop to some rightfully scornful lyrics. “Fuck your faith” indeed!

This leaves us with the epic ‘Engrained’ to close things up. A fair deal of chug, with a nice “slide” guitar sound, working well with the tracks more progressive approach, to end the album in an effectively apocalyptic nature. Unfortunately, this leaves the mellow instrumental that follows it, as sounding rather superfluous.

But this is a very minor quibble, as Wound’s intentions have been forcibly sustained throughout the albums running time and their dynamic approach to the eight tracks on ‘Engrained’ certainly leaves no stone unturned, making it highly recommended for extreme metal fans of all tastes.

(8/10 Stuart Carroll)