The New Jersey band has been on the DIY warpath since the 2013 release of debut album From Where We Came Is Where We'll Rest. Touring nonstop with Cult Leader, Full of Hell, The Banner, Exalt, and more, and releasing music via various splits and EPs, all the work of the past two years has led to The Suffering Spirit, a new, thrilling slab of art that sounds simply massive.
Old Wounds' alliance with Good Fight Music began officially last fall with the Death Projection EP, which earned these words from Pitchfork: "Emotionally charged, stylistically diverse metalcore, refreshingly devoid of the sugary melodies and bone-dumb breakdowns that propagate so freely within the mainstream hardcore scene... It's a furious – and meticulous – piece of work." That four-song record hinted at greatness to come but it was still the work of a scrappy young band; with The Suffering Spirit, this band has advanced to another plane.
From Day One, Old Wounds has proudly paid tribute to its influences – in particular, the heaviest hardcore bands of the late '90s, like Turmoil, Disembodied, Buried Alive, and Indecision. That foundation is stronger than ever onThe Suffering Spirit – the songs chug and churn with machine-like power and vocalist Kevin Iavaroni belts out hair-raising screams on par with the best of them – but there is even more. The Suffering Spirit is the sound of an underground band evolving into something greater. On many of the album's songs, clean vocals and dark melodies arise up out of the slugfest, pointing to other influences: Type O Negative and Deftones are two. Old Wounds makes no apology for this evolution, nor should it. The Suffering Spirit is the sound of an underground band ascending; the album oozes with confidence, as does the band in the live setting. (At recent shows, Iavaroni, decked out in ghostly makeup and a pompadour, stalks the stage with the prowess of a young Phil Anselmo.)
The Suffering Spirit bursts with feeling, track after anthemic track – from opening call-to-arms "Rest In Piss," to the upbeat charge of "Never Sleep Again," to the dirge of the "The Secret Song at the Center of the World," to morbid metal-rocker "On Leather Wings." Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Andreas Magnusson (The Black Dahlia Murder, Despised Icon), the sound is warm, clear, and monstrous.