Unearth // The Wretched; The Ruinous // Album Review


For almost 25 years Unearth has been the torch bearer for the metalcore sound. As one of the bands who helped carve the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM) scene that included bands like Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Hatebreed & God Forbid, Unearth is still keeping that torch high & dry.

Their now eighth album “The Wretched; The Ruinous” is set to be the heaviest & diverse the band has ever put on record.

Right from the bat the title & opening track “The Wretched; The Ruinous” gives us something spectacular. The track feels like the best opening to an album the band have written to date. An aggressive & energetic ring out before trademark Buz McGrath chugging punches nice & clear as the band goes full force.

Just in the first track vocalist Trevor Phipps is really pushing forward with his vocal range. As the track builds to its closing moments a low chanting begins, “No Hero’s” echos like a pack of Vikings about to attack an opposing army. A brilliant showcase of layering, doing something different and diverse makes this track a brilliant opener.

Tracks like “Eradicator” show just why Unearth is one of the titans of metalcore. Blending the melodeath of In Flames & At The Gates with thick mosh pit worthy breakdowns still this far into a bands discography shows they are capable of still writing interesting & heavy tracks like this. The team of Unearth & producer Will Putney (Body Count, Thy Art Is Murder) have made this album really heavy but still clean enough to give it that great punch the band deserves.

The strongest part of the album is Unearths willingness to experiment & make it their most contrasting album. “Mother Betrayal” showcases this. A beautiful marriage of the early Unearth material with blackened, even straight up black metal vibes make this track a real stand out. The lead work that runs through the track by McGrath elevates the sonic structure & gives this song a really epic feel.

A deeper album cut “Dawn of the Militant” gives us that classic metalcore taste. Part Earth Crisis & Strife this track is balls out great. A real showcase for the band’s ability to strip things back when needed & create something solid & heavy. Also the best breakdown in the band’s history maybe? Shit is ridiculous…

Closing out the album “Theaters of War” still keeps the album’s strength high. It feels like the whole album has been building to this end track. Ramping things up to the final moments of the track where the band unleashes into an ungodly breakdown that merges all the most punishing elements on the album into one last catastrophic mosh part that leaves the world in dust & ruin.

“The Wretched; The Ruinous” feels like a very new & exciting chapter to Unearth’s career. It’s rare to see a band take chances to push themselves in the writing room & still create music that surprises long time fans. At the same time they still keep their core sound at heart. This is a fantastic album that hits hard where it needs to & experiments in the places that feel the best. An incredible album that places high in an already phenomenal discography!

Joseph Mitchell

The Wretched; The Ruinous is out via Century Media on May 5th 2023


1. The Wretched; The Ruinous

2. Cremation of the Living

3. Eradicator

4. Mother Betrayal

5. Invictus

6. Call of Existence

7. Dawn of the Militant

8. Aniara

9. Into the Abyss

10. Broken Arrow

11. Theaters of War


Vocals – Trevor Phipps

Guitars – Buz McGrath

Bass – Chris O’Toole

Drums – Nick Pierce




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