The Wring - Spectra

The Wring – Spectra

Spectra is the third offering from guitarist and songwriter Don Dewulf, and it very much continues to be based on the template established on the first two releases. This means a welter of metallic riffs, some odd time signatures and key changes giving it some kind of prog quotient, and on the whole, fairly concise classic rock. Don doesn’t go in for longer compositions, and yet still manages to pack a lot in to each track. He plays some quite blistering lead licks, but solos are kept in check, and each minute is made to count.

Unlike the previous album, Spectra has a consistent band approach rather than a myriad guests, and I think this helps the cohesion of the record. He has also gone for relatively unknown musicians, but that hasn’t resulted in any quality control issues – quite the opposite in fact. The one obvious exception to his policy of hiring ‘unknowns’ is of course Marco Minnemann. His drums were laid down first, and unsurprisingly, he threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the musicians who were expected to rise to the challenge. This seems to have paid off, as there are some sparkling performances. In particular, Chandler Mogel makes his mark as an impressive singer.

This is evident right from the first track, Stiletto, which chugs along quite nicely, but is elevated with the singing, especially in the choruses. Hot on the heels of this lively opener is Stones & Bones, a more interesting hard rock construction, with some unusual key changes, and again the vocals impress. However, this song demonstrates a downside which is the annoying lack of audible keyboards. It’s a good song, but in the press release, Dewulf admits he pushed the keyboards back in the mix. Why? You can just about hear what sounds like Isamu McGregor playing away, but it’s difficult to make out above the relentless rhythm guitar. To be honest, I think the keys are too low in the mix throughout, but I guess this is Don’s project, so it’s a riff fest, and he does do it well.

Next up is Prince, which apparently was inspired by The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. I’m glad Dewulf shared this nugget in the song notes, because I’d never have guessed in a million years, but it’s a good rocker with a complicated riff structure, and Minnemann absolutely kills it with his manic drumming. The Wolf is an instrumental, and what’s this? A keyboard melody which I can actually hear! Things are looking up! The guitar sounds dirty and delicious, and there is a nice solo from Dewulf.

Tin Man is my favourite track, with a very atmospheric acoustic guitar and keyboard intro giving way to another crushing riff, but again the vocals lift the song to another level, especially on the chorus. It’s probably the most memorable song here, with a great solo section underpinned by Reggie Hache’s rumbling bass and Marco’s precision drums. From Mars is another strong track about the struggle to deal with social situations and fit in, and has one of the more interesting lyrics, “This just can’t be my reality, I must be from Mars”. Sins has a mad riff and outrageous drumming, threatening to run completely out of control, but somehow held together by Mogel’s vocals. It’s a roller coaster of a rocker, and typically for The Wring, a bit odd. They do superficially straight ahead rock but then twist it with daft time signatures and odd keys. Somehow, it seems to work. Fallen rounds things off with an off-kilter anthem complete with lush backing vocals. Sensibly, Dewulf keeps things sharp and concise, so we get a 40 minute album, just like the old days, and it’s enough to keep the listener interested. He’s obviously pretty good at this game; he could just do with making the keyboards more prominent next time. Please.

01. Stiletto (4:39)
02. Stones & Bones (4:58)
03. The Prince (3:53)
04. The Wolf (4:58)
05. Tin Man (5:21)
06. From Mars (4:41)
07. Sins (4:43)
08. Fallen (5:05)

Total Time – 38:18

Don Dewulf – Guitars
Marco Minnemann – Drums
Chandler Mogel – Vocals
Reggie Hache – Bass, Keyboards
Isamu McGregor – Keyboards

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Canada
Date of Release: 16th December 2022

The Wring – Website | Facebook | Instagram