Overall Score: 10/10 Riffs: 10/10 Menace: 10/10 Risk-taking: 10/10 Pros: Gloriously unpredictable | Incredible production Cons: Almost impossible to top next time
Seven albums into their horrifyingly contagious career, Wednesday 13 send their unapologetic ‘Condolences’ to their enemies, including death itself.
Despite iconic frontman Wednesday 13 being the last surviving original member, this current line-up now feels as comfortable as ever with axeman Roman Surman assuming co-writing duties once again. After twelve years under the Wednesday moniker, ‘Condolences’ is a slick manoeuvre away from their previously limiting horror punk umbrella and an open door for beautifully produced horror metal.
The gloriously menacing ‘What the Night Brings’ proudly ushers in a newfound heaviness framing Wednesday’s trademark sinister character that only comes out when the sun sets. As neatly crafted as it is infectious, ‘Good Riddance’ is a perfect example that their new melody-driven heavy metal tones fit in perfectly. With astounding guitar backing from Roman throughout, ‘You Breathe I Kill’ and ‘Omen Amen’ pack some of the catchiest and most determined solos you’ve ever heard from Wednesday 13. Wednesday often attributes his success to his influences in glam and shock rock, ‘Cruel to You’ is a fitting tribute to Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister – a merciless anthem to wicked intentions that will surely be a fan staple for years to come.
“If you don’t mind, I’ve got a corpse to grind in the back of my hearse,” belts the sassy ‘Cadaverous’ alongside Kyle Castronovo’s commanding skinsmanship – Wednesday 13 are still unrivalled purveyors of terrifying horror themes. ’Blood Sick’ is equally consumed with bloodlust and ‘Prey for Me’ is as predatory as the fires of hell, but the final three tracks welcome a new emotional turn. ‘Condolences’ shows Wednesday discussing his own death rather than everyone else’s. “Sorry for your loss, condolences,” it chants as solemn atmospherics take over from Wednesday’s usual instrumental energy. With ‘Lonesome Road to Hell’ and ‘Death Infinity’ to complete the transition, this emotionally charged shift is unexpected yet somehow completely welcome.
‘Condolences’ is Wednesday 13’s strongest album since ‘Transylvania 90210’, equipped with far more solos to sink your fangs into and a tremendous emotional U-turn – this will be a tough one to match.
‘Condolences’ is available on 2nd June via Nuclear Blast and you can grab preorder bundles here. You can next see Wednesday 13 in the UK headlining The Dogtooth Stage on the Saturday night of the 2017 Download Festival. Tickets for the festival can be obtained from the official website here.