|Wolfbrigade - 'Damned' (Southern Lord Records)|
|Written by Darrel Sutton|
|Tuesday, 22 May 2012 05:00|
To say that the release of 'Damned' has been hotly anticipated is an understatement of epic proportions. Having been long-standing pioneers of crust-punk from their inception back in 1995, Wolfbrigade have produced nothing short of utterly pummelling hardcore punk from day one. Now the toils of their labour seem to be bearing fruit as they find themselves on THE label to be on at the moment, Southern Lord.
With the calibre of bands and releases on the roster some onlookers might wonder where Wolfbrigade would sit in the pecking order, but from where I'm sat it looks like they'll be proudly looking down from the highest perch, having produced an album of totally blistering power.
Making a logical progression musically from their previous two (and equally as excellent) albums, 2007's 'Prey To The World' and the following years 'Comalive', 'Damned' sees the band once again mixing their powerful, crusty riffing with their trademark subtle melody to devastating effect. The relentless riff-attack of Jocke and Erik provide the perfect foil for the vitriolic vocal delivery, which has made Micke Dahl a hardcore singer without compare.
If you're lucky, the first thing you'll hear of this album is the needle clicking into the groove (yep, you can get it on limited Bronze vinyl if you're quick!) followed by the head-removing riff of 'Feed The Flames'. Then hold on for a ferocious ride through twelve blinding tracks, which don't let up the intensity for one single second. By the time 'Peace Of Mind' holds court over your battered senses you'll know you've hit upon a band at the very top of their game. There are highlights everywhere you look. Take 'Ride The Steel' for instance, which blew everyone away who heard it when it was released online as a teaser for the album. The intro lulls you into a false sense of security before kicking in with bludgeoning guitars. Micke's delivery on the track couldn't be any more cathartic and the off-kilter melody throughout the track adds even more menace, if that's possible. Top it all off with a fantastic latter section and you have one of the best songs the band have ever penned.
Then you have 'The Curse Of Cain' which is brilliant in its simplicity. An absolutely crushing riff carries you throughout the song and shows that don't have to be technically flash to make a tune work, you need to be able to write riffs which make you want to stage dive, and Wolfbrigade write them with consummate ease. I could mention every song by name and laud praise on it, but there's only so much good shit you can write before a review ends up sounding like an arse-licking exercise. Really you could pick any one of the tracks on here and it would blow you away.
It would be unfair to try and portray the album as sheer aggression and nothing else, but there is a huge drive and energy to the entire record, which seems to carry everything along at what seems like breakneck pace. But there are great touches of both melody and subtlety to the songwriting. It's just that the songs are so strong and played with such momentum by a band clearly on top form (and combine this with a flawless production job by Frederik Nordstrom) that you can't help but feel blown away.
Having existed as something of a cult band for most of their career it would fucking fantastic if a label like Southern Lord could introduce a band like Wolfbrigade to a wider audience because, fuck me, do they need to be heard.
To pick up your copy of 'Damned' - CLICK HERE