WRETCH "Doom Be Thy Name" 

By Theron Moore

The Gates of Slumber rode that edge of big time success and cult status.  Unfortunately, big time success wasn’t in the cards for them but finding that kind of breakout recognition is a tough nut to crack in the doom metal genre.  Cathedral and Trouble found it.  Out of the ashes of GoS comes Wretch.  From the band’s website:

“Doom has anxiously and rightfully awaited the return of Karl Simon to the fold. Formerly the guitarist/vocalist for The Gates of Slumber, Simon formed Wretch shortly before the untimely passing of Gates bassist Jason McCash in 2014, that band having called it quits some months earlier after the release of a final EP, Stormcrow. 
The Indianapolis outfit make their self-titled debut on Bad Omen Records with seven tracks that in some ways stand very much in line with what Simon brought to The Gates of Slumber and in other ways are a marked departure. Bassist Bryce Clarke and drummer Chris Gordon both make a striking impression.  Drummer, J. Clyde Paradis, passed away earlier this week on August 14th.”

Blending the best elements of 70’s heavy rock and modern doom metal, Wretch have crafted a killer debut record available on Bad Omen Records (UK) / Prosthetic (USA).  This power trio consisting of Karl Simon - Guitar/Vocals, Chris Gordon – Drums and Bryce Clarke – Bass are a force to be reckoned with.  They’re seasoned vets who know how to make music; heavy, thundering music with heart and soul; that doesn’t come across forced or generic.  Why?  Because doom be thy name…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  Let’s lead off with Wretch’s debut record.  What do fans need to know about it?  Hit me with all the information you can….

CHRIS GORDON:  Well, a couple of the songs were intended for the next Gates record, and the rest were written for Karl's next project. "Winter" was a song I've always wanted to cover, and Karl's a big fan of Priest's "Rocka Rolla" album as am I. Plus, it was winter 2013 when we were rehearsing this new material and we were in the deep freeze.

WC:  Let’s go back to Gates of Slumber for a moment.  There’s a lot of moving parts with this band.  Many successful tours, five solid records, but no breakout success.  And you were in and out of the band twice.  Why the back and forth, what was going on?  

CG:  I'm not proud of the way I left the band the first time. I didn't feel we were ready to be playing festivals and I wasn't sure of our lineup at the time, or my playing ability. The second time Karl booked a European tour and I wasn't able to go at the time for different reasons. Plus, Jason was in the band at this point and always wanted Bob in the band anyway.

WC:  And then bassist Jason McCash dies of a heroin overdose and the Gates of Slumber effectively comes to an end.  What were you up to creatively / professionally when this happened because you weren’t in the band at this time, right?  

CG:  I was not; no. Bob was back for the second or third time. I had played here and there with a few friends, but not much professionally (music-wise).

WC:  What circumstances led up to Karl Simon asking you to be a part of Wretch?  You weren’t the first drummer for this band, correct?  But you are the drummer on the debut…  

CC:  Clyde was supposed to play in Wretch, but he had just moved to Virginia, so Karl told me about his idea for a new band and asked me to be a part of it. We rehearsed for months just he and I. We recorded the demo just a few weeks before Jason's passing and then the album with Bryce on bass earlier this year.

WC:  Has there been much “back and forth” between the band and fans that Wretch is its own entity and not a new incarnation / off shoot of “Gates of Slumber?  

CG:  I suppose it seems like a new version of TGOS, kinda like The Obsessed/Spirit Caravan was for some fans. But we feel it's its own thing. It's more rock, I think. But still heavy and doomy.

WC:  Wretch is channeling a serious St. Vitus / Trouble type vibe throughout the songs but done your way.  And it works.  Was that something you were shooting for or did the music and vocals just move that way organically?  

CG:  I think it just became what it is naturally. We didn't sit down and discuss what it should or shouldn't sound like. We're both big fans of both of those bands though, so some of that is gonna creep in, I suppose.

WC:  What I like about Wretch is the same thing I like about the band “The Skull.” There’s a cool doom vibe but also a straight up metal groove as well.  What bands were you listening to or channeling while recording the new record?  

CG:  Well, we definitely listened to The Skull debut album. We did a handful of shows with them. We always listen to old Sabbath and 70s heavy rock. We were listening to Buffalo around that time too. I was making CDs of bands for Bryce to turn him on to some of the bands Karl and I are into. 

WC:  Are you and Karl pretty much on the same page, music-wise, when it comes to the metal bands you listen to, or, is there a difference in taste?  

CG:  We dig most of the same stuff. He has a hardcore/punk rock background. Actually I think I'm the only one that was in TGOS that doesn't have a hardcore/punk background. I've always been into hard/heavy rock and old-school metal.”

WC:  Something I know about you is that you recently went on tour with The Obsessed.  Very cool.  Tell me all about that and how that opportunity came about….  

CG:  I've known Wino and Sherman since 2000. They needed someone to help them on the road and thought of me, which was very nice of them. Plus, a mutual friend of ours had recently passed away at the time and they figured I'd wanna get out of town for a month. Which I definitely fucking needed at the time. I love those guys. 

WC:  Are there plans to tour nationally with Wretch?  Any invitations to European music festivals yet?

CG:  We're going out on the east coast in November for 2 weeks. There has been some talk of a European tour next spring, and playing a festival, but that's all I can say at the moment.

WC:  Where can fans find Wretch’s debut?  Is it on iTunes?  And where can fans connect with the band?  Facebook page, website?  

CC:  The album is available on iTunes. You can order the CD or vinyl from Bad Omen Records in England, and Prosthetic Records in North America. You can also order through Amazon.