Wrong‘s songs aren’t very long, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take you for a ride. “More Like,” the 77-second leadoff track from the Miami band’s Relapse debut, doesn’t hit the pavement at a sprint as most minute-long tracks by heavy bands generally do. They’re not messing about with crust or grindcore here, but rather stirring up a thick and toxic fume via scrape-and-jerk guitar brutality. The most direct comparison that comes to mind during this minute and change is Amphetamine Reptile-era Helmet—all simple power chord riffs, rhythmic misanthropy, feedback and monotone bark. A four-on-the-floor gallop would be invigorating, energizing even. This is here to test your resolve. After Wrong roughs you up a bit, only then will you know for sure if you’re ready for the next 29 minutes.
If the answer is yes, that half-hour should prove increasingly rewarding with the arrival of each new track in the sequence. Wrong, fronted by former Kylesa member Eric Hernandez, are a pretty noisy band—in fact a band that calls itself Wrong would almost certainly have to be noisy. But they save up some of their best melodies for later on in the journey, ensuring a gauntlet of volume and venom that doesn’t go unrewarded. “Turn In” puts the accelerator to the floor after “More Like” gets the engine turned over, its rollicking pace reminiscent of High on Fire at their most pummeling, while “Read” barrels forth with hardcore nihilism and squealing guitar cacophony. But with “Entourage,” something changes. Their rhythms are less violent, their riffs more melodic, and Hernandez tones down his Page Hamiltonian bark for a more tempered delivery. The first three songs proved that Wrong had the muscle, but “Entourage” shows they’ve also got the melody.
The remainder of Wrong’s self-titled album continues this dance a few times, balancing the post-hardcore crunch of “Hum Drum” with the Southern metal swagger of “Stasis,” and the violent noise-rock twist of “Wrong” against the soaring density of “High Chair.” There are a few moments in between during which the band’s ironheaded swing comes across as overly familiar to that of Helmet’s, but I can hardly fault them for having great influences. In the album’s greatest moments, Wrong not only showcases their own unique character, but a genuine talent for songwriting.