Some of us challenged but welcomed this new lifestyle which was set in stone before any introduction to BC or AD, and we were gladly welcomed with open arms by brothers Cain and Abel. The daylight can be taxing and tiring, while nightlife seems kicked-back and softly responsive. Along the miles, there have been artists that contribute the elements of both night and day. When one checks into these rudimentary entries, you’ll slowly find solace in all things moonglow. Wolfheart took their name and sound from one of the original gatekeepers, but we’ll set that aside for a moment. With batwings, trench coats, and capes open, let’s delve into the bottomless pit that is the band’s new album, Wolves of Karelia.
The intro to “Hail of Steel” opens with hell’s hooves galloping into the land of Nod before committing to complete obliteration of timekeeping. While symphonic – though not necessarily groundbreaking – the band’s commitment and passion is overwhelming. Precision is a term often overlooked, but one that cannot be denied when it comes to Wolves of Karelia. The music almost begs you to put on your favorite archaic, rustic movie with the volume hitting ground zero and let this bloodthirsty soundtrack blaze over the top of any academic performance. Just for shits and giggles, I’ll give you the example of any Nazgul scene perpetuated by the hollowing third track, “Reaper.”
The intertwining juxtaposition between acoustic and electric instruments is on a plane of its own, leading us down a left-hand path into all things cave-dwelling and torch-bearing. “Eye of the Storm” is the mediator for this tarot card of ‘The Twins’ or ‘The Lovers,’ with just a breath of fresh air before spitting flame into the face of the deceiver. This transcendence leads into “Born From Fire,” a shock-filled barn burner that won’t torch churches, not in this review – that’s passé.
The throng of brutality and atmosphere is something that should be considered when purchasing this extravaganza. The LP version would be your best bet, as it truly transforms more efficiently with the needle cutting into wax. Subsonic, sub-genre black metal is not dead, and it’s bands like Wolfheart that breathe life into the carcass of a once mystic, poetic afterthought that is truthful, mind-bending, and mindful of your needs and expectations.
Wolves of Karelia Track Listing:
1. Hail of Steel
2. Horizon on Fire
4. The Hammer
5. Eye of the Storm
6. Born From Fire
7. Arrows of Chaos
Run Time: 40:24
Release Date: April 10, 2020
Record Label: Napalm Records