Wretched Blessing

WRETCHED BLESSING unleashes fury against injustice and oppression with bleak new offering

5 mins read

This formidable duo from Chicago, comprised of Kayhan Vaziri on guitars and vocals, and Rae Amitay on drums and vocals, has unleashed their self-titled debut EP on April 26th on Two Mongrels Recordings. The EP is a fierce, 16-minute sonic assault blending black metal, death metal, hardcore, grindcore, and punk, with lyrics that tackle cronyism, antifascism, and colonialism.

Wretched Blessing’s formation is a testament to the serendipitous convergence of like-minded artists. Vaziri, known for his work with Yautja and Coliseum, and Amitay, the force behind Immortal Bird and errant, first crossed paths in 2014 at Tampa’s Southern Darkness Fest. Their collaboration has culminated in a raw, unrestrained effort to explore the vast spectrum of metal and punk without the constraints of microgenres.

The band’s music is a conduit for their rage and resistance against various societal ills. From the pro-Palestine anthem “Anathematic” to the scathing critique of the American mental healthcare system in “Pseudoascension,” their songs are laced with potent messages. Amitay and Vaziri channel their personal and political frustrations into a cohesive and cathartic listening experience.

Their unique sound is a melting pot of influences. While rooted in the aggressive tones of black and death metal, Wretched Blessing draws from a diverse array of artists including Bolt Thrower, Celtic Frost, and even Lungfish.

Wretched Blessing

A significant aspect of their creative process is the visual and thematic coherence of their work. The EP’s cover art by Kikyz1313, a beautifully grotesque piece titled “eye rustle,” complements the dark and intense nature of their music. Amitay, who has collaborated with Kikyz1313 since 2013, finds that her art perfectly embodies the unsettling aesthetics they aim to convey.

The band’s approach to music is deeply collaborative, a natural extension of their shared experiences in the metal scene. Despite their packed schedules and the challenges of independent production, Vaziri and Amitay have honed their craft, creating music that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant.

As they prepare for future releases and live performances, Wretched Blessing remains committed to their DIY ethic and independent spirit. We sat down to ask them about their new release, the message, some politics, and more. See the full interview below.

Your new EP dives into some heavy topics like cronyism, antifascism, and colonialism. Was there a specific moment or event that made you want to tackle these subjects in your lyrics?

No specific moment or event, as history is known to repeat itself — The escalating atrocities against the Palestinian people, ever-growing rage toward institutions that are anti-humanity, and a predilection for writing “charged” lyrics all sort of combined into what you hear on the EP.

“Anathematic” has a strong pro-Palestine message. Can you tell us more about the songwriting process for this track and how you poured your emotions and political views into the music?

There is definitely (hopefully) a clear Middle Eastern influence in the musical composition itself, and of course with the lyrics therein. We are both deeply invested in being educated, vocal, and unwavering in our support of a free Palestine and rejection of Zionist imperialism. The catastrophic violence in Gaza and US complicity was at the forefront of our minds during most of the time in which we were writing this music.

“Mirror Vulture” talks about the repetitive nature of the music industry. Have you faced these issues in your previous bands, and how has that shaped what you’re doing with WRETCHED BLESSING?

I think anyone who has tried to make music or art and have it be more than an absolute hobby/labor of love has faced issues with the “business” side of things. We understand the necessity of the “industry” but once you start dealing with booking agents, record labels, management, etc – things can get really messy, fast — especially when people are disingenuous or self-serving.

“Pseudoascension” takes on the American mental healthcare system. From those from outside the US, tell us what’s wrong with it.

Man, there aren’t enough hours in the day. Greed and incompetence, mostly. “Care” is fatally conditional and devastatingly expensive, administered by exhausted people, exploiting others, while being capitalized upon by vultures who only care about profit margins. It’s great, really.

Just never get sick physically or mentally, have perfect insurance, and walk on eggshells while drinking poisoned water and breathing toxic air until you die!

“Spurious Ovation” feels like it’s bursting with irritation. What personal experiences fueled the intensity of this track?

There’s probably a longer and more intellectual answer somewhere, but we’ll just say we were kind of grossed out by certain people who display an uncomfortable level of interest and involvement in other people’s lives, completely intoxicated by an app on their phone.

Your EP mixes black metal, death metal, hardcore, grindcore, and punk. How do you balance all these styles and moods during your songwriting process to keep everything sounding cohesive?

We’ve been listening to and playing music like this for over 20 years, so when you filter our “knowledge” and experience of these genres through the both of us, this is the result. It is intentionally cohesive when we’re writing it, but we also have complementary/similar styles of writing. It’s also been an easier process co-writing as a duo.

The cover art by Kikyz1313 is pretty intense. What drew you to this artist, and how do you think the artwork ties in with the themes of your music?

We’re both fans of hers, but Rae has been working with Kikyz1313 for Immortal Bird since 2013’s ‘Akrasia’ EP. Her art is so beautifully grotesque and unique, we hoped that she might have a piece that wasn’t too reminiscent of pieces used for Immortal Bird. When we found ‘eye rustle’ it seemed to have a perfectly unsettling aesthetic that was open to interpretation.

The EP is short but packed with powerful messages. How do you decide what themes to explore in your music, and are there any topics you haven’t yet covered that you’re eager to address in future releases?

We didn’t really set out to cover any specific themes. Metal and hardcore is often political, visceral, and aggressive, and this band will likely never explore Sunshine, Laughter, and Positivity. Did we know we were going to have such pointed subjects? No, but that made writing the lyrics more meaningful and also expedited the process because we felt compelled to say certain things.

Wretched Blessing

Your collaboration started at the Southern Darkness Fest in 2014. How did your shared experiences in the metal scene influence the formation and direction of WRETCHED BLESSING?

One could say our shared experiences absolutely and directly influenced the formation of this band. Yautja and Immortal Bird probably would have ended up crossing paths after 2014, but who knows? We have so many mutual friends and acquaintances — the same could be said for the majority of people who have spent years touring in ‘indie’ metal bands, but now we’ve fully combined worlds that were already so closely connected, for so many years, prior to Wretched Blessing.

Are there any emerging artists or bands in your local scene that you would recommend to our readers?

We don’t exactly have our finger on the pulse of burgeoning talent in our scene, and most bands that come to mind definitely don’t need a plug from us (Russian Circles, Weekend Nachos, Bongripper, Ministry) — We would recommend that people do not listen to Wilco.

Wretched Blessing

Given the strong DIY ethic behind your project and your decision to release music through Two Mongrels Recordings, what advice would you give to other bands looking to navigate the independent music landscape?

If all you want is for someone to press your vinyl, do not sell your soul (or more realistically, enter into a vampiric agreement) to achieve that end. Don’t lose sight of what genuinely drew you to making music, and try to know your worth both in terms of financial metrics and also where you stand with personal ethics. Try to say yes to opportunities and experiences that could be fun or meaningful, but maybe not commercially or conventionally lucrative.

Make real friends and then do your best to keep them.

Thanks so much for your time. Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

Thank you for this opportunity! We have studio time booked for another recording this year, and more shows coming up. We plan on staying alive at least long enough to play Slay the Spire 2 (out 2025) and play out of the country. Final three thoughts: Chicago deep dish pizza is overrated. RIP Steve Albini. Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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