Wolverine - Cold Light of Monday
Earache Records
Dark Progressive Electronic Music
11 songs (51'46")
Release year: 2004
Wolverine, Earache Records
Reviewed by Alex

I have missed Wolverine debut Fervent Dream and has been kicking myself ever since for that after getting a hold of their 2001 follow-up The Window Purpose. Not too many heard of the latter album, and it is too bad. With The Window Purpose Swedish Wolverine established themselves on a pedestal of dark progressive metal just a cut below my beloved Evergrey. To create their own style Wolverine added dark melodies and even deathly growls on top of the regular stop-and-go riffs and keyboards palette of the progressive metal. I have eagerly anticipated their new album Cold Light of Monday, and now upon spinning it times and times again, the question still remains: “Is this even the same band?”

Several things are certain. One listen to Cold Light of Monday will not do. I have been listening to it just about all this week, trying to explain to myself why such a change. Having a booklet in my hand, reading the lyrics, and seeing the art photography make things a little more digestible, but still, why such a change.

I am not going to keep up the intrigue anymore, Wolverine has gone mellow. What was an excellent fusion of darkness and heaviness lost the latter completely and pushes the former through all kinds of trippy and electronic channels. I believe I have proved my open-mindedness with many reviews of the non-traditional metal I have written here, but this just is not sitting well with me. No matter the number of listens. Not the mellowness and atmospheric nature of the album, but its lack of girth and flow.

Suffice it to say guitar does not even come into play until the middle of the second cut Sarah. Processed vocals as if coming from the voice recorder and quiet eeriness of the opener Dawn transition into Sarah which uses even more of the vocal effect, now seemingly coming from the same voice recorder beaten up a few times. The song borders on the latest Antimatter and Anathema, and I am no fan of that genre. This is somehow dark, very pretentious, prog rock that gets some radio airplay. If you get it, you can call yourself smarter than thou, but if you don’t, it just skips by you entirely.

Some songs, though, remind me why I liked Wolverine of old so much. Just take New Best Friends. This song has an unbelievable flow and melody, and although still relying on electronics, background guitar touches and middle solo rejuvenate my desire to accept the album. It seems to me that Wolverine has been listening to Katatonia quite a bit lately. Tragic touching melodies and syncopated riffs of Carousel, trippy mellow synth of Pantomime with its powerful polyphonic ending, tasty bass dibbles of Carousel and The Final Redemption – these elements draw me in like a moth to the flame. Guitar work, however, is nowhere near the Katatonia level, and that drawback is glaring. On the other hand, the clean vocals of Stefan Zell are very sad and emotive, while cymbal percussion by Marcus Losbjer is a true highlight, probably one of the best in the genre.

Some of the songs on the album are definitely half-baked. On tightRope I had the definite feeling that the CD was skipping in my player with all the weird industrialized noises and static fuzz of the broken radio. Trust is a piano ballad which would fit great on a Savatage or Pain of Salvation album, but here just feels too short and incomplete. Red Canvas is simply an exercise in exotic percussion, just like funeral synth of Dusk goes into an abrupt guitar run which ends just as randomly as it starts. I understand the album is a concept one, and these pieces are supposed to tie it together, instead they cut the album short for me. The lyrics, very chilling and disturbing I have to say, just like on The Window Purpose, tell the story of the young girl Sarah, deceptive love and abusive relationship.

I truly would not know what the next Wolverine album will hold. Ulver like complete atmospherics, or going back to the roots where progressive riffs would be more prevalent than on Cold Light of Monday. I am still trying to figure this out endlessly spinning this album, having the feeling the band missed me, the fan. Another question – what is the music like this doing on Earache?

Killing Songs :
New Best Friends, Carousel, Pantomime, The Final Redemtption, Tied with Sin
Alex quoted 58 / 100
Other albums by Wolverine that we have reviewed:
Wolverine - Communication Lost reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Wolverine - Still reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
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