Wolves of Winter
Life of Agony, Staind, Corrosion of Conformity
Why force it? This is not stoner/desert rock and contains really no elements (other than perhaps the album art) of what has formulated the genre. Rather we prefer the broader hard rock genre to best describe Wolves of Winter’s first self-titled release. There is no meandering riffage and ethereal landscapes on this album. Rather what we have here is a very straightforward rock and roll album. The guitar riffs and fast paced melodies may get the toe tapping action started. The album contains very little space between the vocals and accompaniment. The songs primarily range 3-4 minutes with the vast majority being under 3 minutes. In fact on "Start of the Season" as the song begins to develop some texture a quick fall-off and abrupt ending takes hold at the 2:38 mark. We get the feeling as though the album was rushed particularly as some of the better tracks are front loaded on the album.
2. A New Reality
3. Tooth And Nail
4. Start Of The Season
5. The Blind Leading The Blind
6. Devil's Kiss
7. Rubber Band
8. Childs Reasoning
10. Try Till Dead
The opener "Astrothoughts" is perhaps the best track on the album with a very catchy melody that could play well commercially. The production on the album is quite strong and the band does a nice job mixing up McGee’s vocals with subtle distortion and some moments of echo. Unfortunately, things really begin to derail for us on the third track "Tooth And Nail," a song about a troubled relationship and being fought every which way to the cliche. Here in lies the problem with the debut. Most tracks contains some very cringing lyrical moments where the band is almost too cliche and straightforward with their thoughts.
Tracks 1, 2 and 4 are probably the strongest and we see a steady decline thereafter. The last two tracks in particular fall woefully flat as "Manipulation" is sheer annoyance with a bunch of regurgitated riffs and just god awful lyrics. "Try Til’ Dead" is just as painful as Staind, Seether and Trapt are melded together.
Josh McGee, David Weaver, Mike Horn
While the production and album art are pretty solid on this one, do not get deceived by the labeling of stoner rock. Grab yourself some Weedpecker if you are in the mood for stoner rock. And if you are looking for a good hard rock album, circle back to some 90s tunes and grab every Life of Agony album. Wolves of Winter unfortunately will hit the bargain bins pretty quickly or should we say the cloud bins pretty quickly. - 3/9/2016
Standout Tracks: Astrothoughts