I am getting older. Not old. Old is the endgame result for men who have lost everything and are ready to take the final step into the void. In contrast, Older sounds like there is still something flickering inside. The fight hasn’t left the body and the mind is still determined, and youth, strength – even existence – will last longer. Older still has some spark left in it to go out swinging. Recently becoming a husband and father and hitting 35, I feel like I’m currently reaching my prime. But I know what lies beyond that: the years of decay and aging. But in that time when your body turns on you, you’ll most likely gain some sort of natural knowledge and insight to what has been your biggest enemy your entire life: time.
Speaking of time: Wolvhammer. The band has had just the right amount of time to grow from the blackened and messy placenta of their 2009 demo Rich with Bloodfuel to the more experienced and crotchety older gentleman they have become. They are just short of a decade of spreading their filthy brand of sludge-y black metal as far and wide as possible. They’ve spent that decade perfecting and carving out their own niche sound in a sphere of music that is littered with trend-followers, coattail riders, half-assed revisionists, carbon copy clones; basically running down the entire gamut of uninspired legions. The Monument Of Ash & Bone, to be delivered on May 8th via Blood Music, is nothing short of a testament to Wolvhammer’s own personal strength and determination. Yes, they’ve grown older, but Wolvhammer have also grown smarter and stronger which has led them to building something that clearly stands head above shoulders amongst the endless slew and muck of releases that get unnecessary hype and praise.
The biggest and most noticeable change in their new album is that it’s fucking disgusting – not that previous stillborn offerings from this group has been anything less than nauseating. Monument… not only has a 90’s Peaceville-like atmosphere, but this self-proclaimed suicide brigade go for the fucking jugular with songs such as “Law Of The Rope,” “The Failure King,” “Dead Rat Rotting Raven,” and the first single “Eternal Rotting Misery.” Many of the passages in these anthems of anguish conjure up strong riffs that are a nod to past bands such as Strid(Nor), Thorns, and Darkthrone while creating newer and more open space for the future. The melodic sensibilities of “Clawing Into Black Sun” and that sweet-as-fuck cover they did of The Cure’s “Burn” would seem to be almost non-existent, if not for the final song “Solar Eclipsed” where we reach doom/death-like territory. The violins and depressive crawl of the song reminds me a bit of bands such as Morgion, Asunder, and Loss. It’s the funereal grand finale for an album from a band that for the past 10 years has more or less done what they have wanted to do. Godspeed you slaves to the grime and keep on spreading the plague.