Wolvhammer are a ( for this album) 3 piece blackened sludge band with some influence of Punk/hardcore and Post metal. Their last album made a few heads turn, and really helped them get noticed within the genre. After 3 years, the band is back, and I think better than ever. With various influences in their music, nothing seems claustrophobic and the songs are some of the catchiest I've heard from a metal album all year.
For the most part, the album is fairly mid tempo, sludgy sounding music with some really snarled blackened vocals. However, at times, such as in Death Division we can hear some passages of Post Metal (around the 2:45 mark) and the vocal delivery has the attitude and bark of some punk/hardcore. A track like Slaves to the Grime stays within the sludgy death'n'roll sound and have some incredibly catchy riffs and a wonderful groove. Even during some of the faster sections in the album, like the last half of The Desanctification the groove never goes away. I found my head nodding, and my foot tapping along to the entirety of this record, which has not happened much lately in a metal record.
The band as a whole sounds more confident on this album as well. They are not trying to reinvent anything, they just want to make great music, and it shows. The influences blend together well, and the song writing is really a step up format the prior album. The opening track, The Silver Key showcases this very well, as does closer A Light That Doesn't Yield. Both tracks flirt with the 9 minute mark, and keep things interesting for the duration of that time. The closing track even brings in some clean vocals, which help break up the heaviness and bleakness the album has presented before.
Further, the sound on this album is great. The production is thick most of the time (admittedly, it does lack at times in the album, but not too often) and the instruments do get a chance to really shine. The drums can sound a bit basic, but they provide such a great groove I can't really complain. Again, the vocals are mostly blackened snarls, with some hardcore/punk attitude at times, and really invoke feelings of anger, pain, and hopelessness as well. The guitars are heavy, and distorted, but focus on the making some great riffs, of which there are many. The bass of course adds that extra layer of heaviness and makes the album really pound and pulsate through the speakers.
The album is not perfect though by any means. Again, the production and mixing is usually great, but at times, like near the end of the final track, things feel a bit thin, and it looses some impact to me. The emotion in the songwriting is there, but something about how it actually comes out seems a bit off to me compared to the rest of the album. Also, the songs, while catchy, do not offer much in the way of variety from one track to another. The album does feel longer than it actually is at times, and some tracks, such as The Desanctification seem to drag a bit despite the latter part of the song switching up the sound. It would probably be my least favorite track on the record, and really the only low point for me other than some sketchy production.
Overall, despite a few small issues I have, the album is damn good, and a good addition to an awesome 2014. It is still one of the most catchy albums I've heard all year, and those riffs will stay with me long after I'm done listening to the record. My first listen was a little lackluster, but upon more listens of the album, the greatness does shine through. This is a really good example of a blackened sludge band bringing in other influences and making them selves standout in what seems to be an increasingly over crowded genre. Definitely check this album out, as it's very worth your time. Check out the album on bandcamp.
Killing Songs :
The Silver Key, Slaves to The Grime, In Reverence, Clawing Into Black Sun
|Neill quoted 80 / 100|
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