Wolverine, "Cold Light of Monday"
Interesting one, this. Fittingly, I'm writing my review on a cold, wet, miserable Monday. Wolverine are from Sweden and have been plying their craft since 1995, first as a melodic death metal band but morphing into a more progressive metal/darkwave outfit by the time of this, their third release (and their first on Earache/Elitist). While this isn't a band that's going to appeal to the average death/black/grind/gore fan, there's no denying the technical ability of the musicians, nor the quality of the songwriting. "Abuse and redemption" is the focus of this album, or so claims the back of the CD slip case, and yes, it's a damned moody piece of music, emotionally bruised songs that slither on the ground, lashing out with splintered teeth only to get beaten back down. It's not all doom and gloom, though; there is a bit of metal guitar cutting through the fog, used with restraint and all the more effective for it, never driving the songs so much as filling a necessary role. The guitar solos are tastefully melodic, a musical garnish on the main dish. Stefan Zell deserves a mention for his expressive vocals, capable of a nice melancholic croon and subtle power, very fitting for the music. There's even some texture from the bass player, giving this a very ensemble feel. I like this album quite a bit, not so much because it's breaking new ground (it's not... Wolverine wears their influences on their sleeves) but because it just sounds so damn cool. There are little musical gems all over this album, and it flows rather effortlessly from one mood to another. Fans of Amorphis, Katatonia, later day Tiamat, Damnation-era Opeth, hell even fans of Robert Smith or The Cure will devour this one.
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