Being confident in the face of the much-dreaded sophomore slump is one thing, but promising a record that is ‘faster, heavier, angrier yet also more melodic’ than what was presented on a band’s début is a downright ballsy claim. Well, Floridian noise rock/alternative metal four-piece Wrong have busted out just that move ahead of the release of their new album, Feel Great. While statements like that have since long been co-opted by marketing departments across the heavy music sector to wrest more sales from expectant fanbases, this is one case in which that assessment is not completely off. Behind the fairly standard cover artwork waits half an hour of razor-sharp, Helmet-esque riffing, chizelled rhythms, and surprisingly potent hook lines.
Putting the one-two punch of “Errordome” and album single “Culminate” at the beginning of Feel Great makes sense, as they set the trend for what’s to follow nicely. The former is a short but vicious hardcore-infused uptempo rager with tons of distortion and feedback (not to mention nifty guitar solo), whereas the latter represents the album’s more mid-tempo ambitions without sacrificing even an ounce of the vitriol, power and aggression that makes Wrong’s music so enjoyable. From here on out, we’ll mostly get variations on these two pre-established styles, but given the confidence with which they are presented and the overall concise runtime of the record, that’s easily forgivable.
What keeps the individual songs from bleeding into each other in the face of this strong stylistic homogeneity are the little details. Be it the bass-only break in “Pustule”, the particularly energetic hardcore rhythm in “Crawl Instead”, the clean guitar leads in “Come Apart Mend”, or the noisy finale to “Zero Cool”, almost every single track offers a minor tweak to the Wrong formula. This provides enough diversity for the listener without breaking with the aesthetic that lies at the core of the band’s sound too much.
Wrong have two major aces in the hole that set them apart from their peers: vast experience within the music industry (members of the band have been involved in projects such as Torche and Kylesa before coming together to form Wrong) and their boldness in flirting with more melodic elements. Those include, but are not limited to, the very Page Hamilton-esque clean vocals which are utilized in four of the tracks on Feel Great. These instances are especially enjoyable since they are usually juxtaposed against the angular guitar sound which marks the album’s usual tone.
Even within the confines of a sound that owes a great debt to groups like Helmet, who are an undeniable influence, Wrong have managed to both make the best out of what they already established on their self-titled 2016 début and add new facets to it in a sensible fashion. The end result is an album which is raw and polished in all the right places. Despite its at times one-dimensional character, Feel Great confidently boasts its heaviness and newfound melodic tendencies in equal measure, kicking as much ass as it can possibly get its gritty feet on in the process.
Notable Tracks: “Culminate”; “Upgrade”; “Come Apart Mend”
FFO: Helmet, Whores., early Kylesa