Wretch Like Me

I Am Become Death

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With a band name and album title like this, do you really expect a happy-go-lucky time? It isn't, but it isn't quite the crushing grindcore you might anticipate, either. It's rather average punk with some pop and hard rock influences, though the band is quite tight and constantly varying the dynamics to keep the tension at an uncomfortable level. Sometimes the melodies and harmonies veer into almost radio-friendly territory, but the frequent hoarse throat-shredding vocals and dissonant passages keep the mood from approaching pleasant, and not to the music's benefit. The Link Wray-like riffs on "Saying Sorry to a Tombstone" are a welcome variation (though they unabashedly borrow from "Rumble"), but not one that's typical of the program. The words are a torrent of foreboding, psychic pain and desperation (even in the obscure references to love and sex), though there's an offbeat allusion to the struggles of being in an indie band on "Mr. Head Say Hello to Mr. Brick Wall" ("Seven records to my name and about as many sales"). The prank phone call inquiring about a used car tagged on at the end is about as funny as it would have been to insert a cover of "Amazing Grace" as an unlisted bonus track.

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