Wharflurch - Psychedelic Realms Ov Hell

After a few EPs and split albums, Florida based death metal group Wharflurch finally crawls from the sewers and drenches fans with their sludgy, yet tasteful full length debut “Psychedelic Realms Ov Hell.’ Coming off at first as a lumbering grim behemoth akin to the likes of older Suffocation, a bit of Torture Killer for the groove, and even a little Gatecreeper. One thing that Wharflurch does very well though to separate themselves from other bands is include the sci fi/ psychedelic elements to their music. It is not overbearingly prominent, mostly involving very space alien sounding vocoder work on tracks like ‘Stoned Ape Apocalypse’ or ‘Celestial Mycelium,’ but it does take things a step up from the typical mid 90s death metal worship so many bands are prone to doing. The meat and potatoes of the music is mostly mid paced heavy churning riffs with plenty of doomy moments and echoing death growls that are very easy to get lost in, but it is the guitar solos that really grab attention just due to their slow, foreboding melodies, especially on the opening track. Other tracks like ‘Abandoning Reality’ use more keyboard/ guitar effects to the sci fi elements but speed things up on the pace adding a bit more ferocity to the music. The reverb drench is heavier to try to get more distortion effect which enhances that atmosphere, though some fans may find it a bit too thick to really enjoy the track.

Other tracks like ‘Phantasmagorical Fumes’ really drag out the melancholy with the riffs, capitalizing on the doomier elements, especially when it comes to the drums. The track sounds more like a bit of Mourning Beloveth, minus the clean vocals, but it helps make it the stand out track compared to the others, and of course the sci fi vocoder bit adds a bit more of a creepy effect that doesn’t feel random or out of place, though the band could have used more of these sci fi effects within the songs too, rather than save them for the beginning or end of them as they start to become a little predictable. ‘Bog Body Boletus’ changes things up a bit with the vocals, finally breaking the bellowing growls and adding in some black metal influences with the shrieks but keeping up with the mid paced chugging and overall death metal style. Some might find the black metal elements a bit jarring, but it adds more scope to the music. Finally there is ‘Psychedelic Realms ov Hell’ which just trudges along for a bit before exploding into a much faster pace and then slowing down again. It pretty much takes the sludgy side of Wharflurch and merges it with the faster, making for an explosive closer.

Overall fans will probably enjoy this album a lot. It has plenty of hard and slow moments that can either be moshed to or slowly head banged in the pit. The guttural and sci fi effects really help bring out the band’s potential and they just need to keep fleshing those elements out. The sci fi effects could be a fantastic thing that helps propel them to new heights if used in the right manner, and while Wharflurch didn’t quite hit the nail on the head with them on this album, there is always room for improvement. They definitely have a bright future in the sludge death metal realm and their psychedelic elements just might help them from being shoved back in the sewer and be forgotten after an album or two. Definitely worth checking out for those who like modern elements to death metal but with a 90s sound.

3.5 / 5 STARS

1. Celestial Mycelium
2. Stoned Ape Apocalypse
3. Abandoning Reality
4. Phantasmagorical Fumes
5. Bog Body Boletus
6. Psychedelic Realms Ov Hell