Created in 1990 Wombbath is a pure veteran of the Swedish death metal scene. After disbanding in 1995 the band was recreated in 2014 by the founder Håkan Stuvemark who together with one of Sweden’s best death metal vocalists Jonny Pettersson (Berzerker Legion, Gods Forsaken, Heads For the Dead etc) has been for core of Wombbath today. The bands latest release The Great Desolation came in 2018 and was in my opinion one of the best swe-death albums of the year. Since then only Håkan and Jonny has remained in the line-up as Thomas von Wachenfeldt (De Tveksamma, Wachenfeldt) joins on guitar, Matt Davidson (Repulsive Vision, Henry Kane (live)) on bass and Jon Rudin (From Ruin and Just Before Dawn) on drums. With the core still intact it was interesting to hear if the band would sound like this time around.
At the start much have stayed the same, which is for the good seeing as I loved The Great Desolation. Wombbath being heavily rooted in the days of old school swe-death this is no surprise to be honest as members have come and gone but their core sound has always been there, that’s the case this time too. Dismember like riffs comes at you straight from the get go as “Fallen” starts the album in style. “Crawling from the Pits” is HM-2 galore where every single old school swe-death fan should jump with joy when the riffs shreds you halfway into the song. On “We Shall Remain” Jonny switches up the vocals a bit and tries some other styles which doesn’t quite hit a home run for me and the track feels a lot weaker than the rest of the album all around to be honest. “A Sweet Taste of Death” also has some high and lows but here the quality is more back up to what the first two songs delivered. Loving the eerie feeling and tempo-changes they’re going for here even if I feel it could of been done even better it’s a nice change of death metal. “From the Beggars Hand” then comes on, my favorite track on the album because holy crap is this the way I love Wombbath play. The solo at around 4:10 is lethal and should come with a warning label while Jonny does one of his best performances just adds more fuel to my headbanging ways. An absolute killer track which shows Wombbath at its peak. Funny thing is the other six minute song (they are actually both clocking 6:06) “Wings of Horror” does give “From the Beggars Hand” a run for its money however as here their newer elements just clash perfectly and the horrific atmosphere laid down by Jonny’s variation on growls and shrieks in the background along with some filthy instrumentals works wonderful together. Think more doomy death metal a la Finland and Krypts or Corpsessed than classic swe-death here. If you have to just listen to two songs choose those two as they showcase two very different sides of Wombbath.
On Choirs of the Fallen they’ve actually tried more new things than I originally thought they would, with varied outcomes. Nice to see a band so rooted in a certain style tries to add new elements though. I do think The Great Desolation was a better album overall though and that Wombbath might have tried a trick or two too many here. There are a few too many songs that are just good than great here and I also think the overall songwriting was a bit better on The Great Desolation. However with that said fans of Wombbath will feel right at home, that thing is certain and the band has released some of their best material here, just also some of its weaker ones too. Have to be said I have very high expectations of a band of this caliber which is obviously something to keep in mind if you’re just checking the score. It’s a very good death metal album which shows a band willing to try new things (an old dog can learn to sit!) and I’m very exiting for what comes next from Wombbath to continue this path.