Although it would be easy to just throw Wren into the sludge doom scene, these Londoners have a few neat surprises up their sleeves. Of course, the majority of the music on 'Groundswells' is a collection of sludgy post metal, perfectly suited for fans of everything between AmenRa and Isis, but listen closely and you'll be amazed.
The whole thing begins with 'Chromed'. No intro, no warning message, just a bombardment of gritty riffs, methodical drums and frightening screams. But then there is the noisy aspect of the whole thing. At one point into this track I found myself thinking "this could be what happens when Sonic Youth and Melvins cover Conan". 'Seek the Unkindred' follows that example and raises the level of intensity to near-death metal levels. After that, it's time for one of my favorite tracks here, the noise-rock induced 'Murmur', basking in dissonance, brutality and a hardcore in-your-face attitude.
I mentioned the word "surprises" in the beginning of this review and on 'Subterranean Messiah' they show themselves in a glorious way. While most of the tracks are ferocious sludge doom tunes, this one drags the whole thing into the post metal scene. Gloomy guitars, ambient soundscapes and post-rock atmosphere deliver an absolute stunner of a track. Jo Quail and FVNERALS also appear here, which is a perfect explanation for this sudden change of direction. Nonetheless, this is a brilliant track and a breath of fresh air after the sonic violence earlier in the album.
The other tracks are up to you to discover. If you're a fan of any of the bands I mentioned in this review, or a fan of Wren, or merely a fan of being beaten to death by riffs, drums and screams, you should pre-order the hell out of this thing.