The latest disturbing brainchild of Germany's Rudy Ratzinger, :Wumpscut:'s Wreath of Barbs makes your skin crawl using toys like high-frequency filtering, EQ-reverb and paranoia-related samples (e.g. "Hate is mine"). This is tempered by positively glamorous synth sounds such as those found all over "Troops Under Fire." Other cheerful song titles include "Line of Corpses", "Bleed in Silence" and – of course – the first pitch of this inning, "Opening the Gates of Hell". (How appropriate, sigh!) I particularly got off o­n "Mankind's Disease", which evokes everything from the Medireview through the Millennium, with the skillful employment of some very acoustic and some very electronic elements. The Germans have been masters at arrangement since the inception of modern musical notation, and :wumpscut: is no exception. Rather, it is an example of what Johann Sebastian Bach might have been doing if he happened a few centuries later – or if he had backroom access to really, really cool studio setup. Oh, yes…parental advisory o­n this o­ne. Go figure.

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