|Melodic Death Metal
April 13th, 2007
Release length: 51:22
Wolves is basically a complete one-eighty from where the band stood Earth.Revolt, and it’s such a great thing. It’s clear that the group has talent, but on previous material took too much from their inspirations, leading to an album that had plenty of positive elements to it, but barely any of their own. However, with Wolves, the attitude of the band seems to have changed to a much darker, more menacing sound. The music is much tighter and more intense, utilizing a great production and some heavy-sounding distortions to create a song that hammers away at the listener, blended with just the right level of Bass, and some fantastic drumming that offers a great range of approaches throughout the album, having that same heavy bite to them, matching the dark atmosphere of the album perfectly. The keyboards for this effort have also greatly stepped up, but sometimes can be a little overkill. While tracks like “Loser’s Ballet” and “Code of Honor” greatly benefit from the darkened atmosphere that the keyboards offer, sometimes what is recorded can be a bit too much.
And that winds up being one of the drawbacks to Wolves. While the band tries to bring a very forceful album, they can sometimes overdo it. “Losers’ Ballet” is the perfect example, being a very dark album, having atmospheric shades along the lines of Dimmu Borgir releases. This song abruptly stops, and goes into a gothic classical composition for no reason whatsoever. While it works with the environment that the music is creating, it’s not needed, ruins the flow of the song, and leaves the listener just wanting the track to end. The same goes with “End Begins”, which just abruptly changes course a little more then half way, but goes into a Techno song instead of a gothic classical composition, then blasts right back into the music with the drums to crash into a guitar solo. It’s confusing and leaves the listener just wanting to skip forward. The song also seems to be pushed along by some of these Techno/Electronica sounds, especially during the chorus, and they actually conflict greatly with the music in it, and, again, leave the song just sounding cluttered with a “too over-the-top” feeling to the keyboards.
Vocally, Wolves is a great improvement, and the dueting male gutterals and female vocals are fantastic. Unlike the previous At the Gates-like vocal approach, the vocals here are done with a deeper gutteral style, sometimes layered for added effect, which works out well and gives them the feeling of a massive black hole, just devouring everything in it’s path. However, then you have the innocent female vocals that sound angelic against the gutterals, creating a fantastic contrast for the music, especially with the varying atmospheres of the release. Many of the songs here carry a darker approach, as mentioned earlier, but there’s also a more upbeat feeling to some of the tracks, such as “Crown of Creation”, which is where the female vocals typically shine through. Of course, the closing track “To Where the Skies are Blue” offers a strong emphasis on female vocals, as it’s a piece with the female vocalist performing against classic pianos, and alternate keyboards here and there that offer the sounds of background classical instruments that match the slower paced ballad. This track actually isn’t as impressive as one would thing, especially having heard the power in her vocals throughout the album, as much of the song just doesn’t seem too energetic at all, and much of it just sounds generic, even with the background layered vocals that seem to attempt to add more power to the mix. It isn’t until maybe two-thirds of the way through that the song picks up and actually proves to be more then a generic, tacked on ballad.
The limited first edition of Wolves was offered through the Lifeforce Records webstore as an exclusive item. While some stores got the CD as well, it was offered on-line with a better deal. This edition is basically the Japanese version of the album, which includes a nice slipcase with alternate artwork, though the layout resembles something one would expect from a Hardcore release through the label Deathwish, and doesn’t really reflect the Melodic Death Metal sound of the band. Aside the odd artwork, you could also pick up the album with a t-shirt that has that same artwork from the front of the slipcase, as well as the bonus track from the Japanese version of the album. “Code of Honor (Club Remixxx)” is, well, a Techno version of the song. Honestly, for a techno song, it’s not bad, and a nice reinterpretation of the song without the heaviness and darker atmosphere, but a more upbeat sound you can dance too. The only real complaint is how they handle the gutteral vocals of the song, which sounds horrible, and sounds like some is using a voice box over the now whisper-like gutterals that were once commanding in the original track. It’s a nice piece to have, but if house music isn’t your thing, then chances are you won’t care at this point, and if you didn’t get this in time to get the shirt, then the only real value of this CD to you would be the collectable value.
Wolves by Deadlock is a very impressive change of pace for the band. The group manages to capture a great atmosphere, and leave behind all the idolworship influences that plagued their previous outing. Songs like the commanding “Code of Honor”, as well as the upbeat and melodic “Dark Cell” show great promise and range for the band to weave crushing Melodic Death Metal with a good amount of beauty. Sure, it has it’s faults and over-the-top moments, but this release really shows a quickly maturing band. Of course, it also fuels many of the stereotypes about men when women are concerned, as it’s too bad it took the additional of the band’s female vocalist/keyboardist to the line-up for them to put out an album this strong, and hopefully it wasn’t simply due to general male nature and composed to impress her…
01. World Domination – 0:48
02. We Shall All Bleed – 6:05
03. Code of Honor – 4:28
04. Loser’s Ballet – 6:40
05. Dark Cell – 4:25
06. Crown of Creation – 4:52
07. End Begins – 4:35
08. As Words to Bullets – 3:44
09. Praeludium II – 1:33
10. Bloodpact – 5:53
11. To Where the Skies are Blue – 3:50
12. Code of Honor (Techno Version) (Bonus Track) – 4:29
|Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10
Limited Edition Score: 4/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.