Nequient (adj.) — incapable.
I had to look that up. So we all learned something here today…
I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know, of course, but the past few decades have seen unprecedented cross-pollination across the board in popular music, as scenes splinter apart and listening habits change. Now you’ve got indie rockers plunking on banjos, country stars rapping over hip-hop beats, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria…
Opening with the appropriately titled “Scorcher,” Wolves At The Door hits fast with a screaming cacophonous introduction before the remainder of its two minutes cycles through grinding d-beat and a bouncy and simple, hooky punk/garage riff that would have Jack White wetting his striped pantaloons. It’s one hell of an opening shot, and one of Wolves’ finest tracks, establishing quickly the cornerstones of Nequient’s stylistic mish-mash. “ROI” and “Cult Of Ignorance” follow suit, all sharp riffs rife with jagged dissonance and Jason Kolkey’s sore-throat array of screams and shrieks. “Screaming Across The Sky” slows things to a crawl, bringing the tar-coated sludge feel to the proceedings, but I must admit that sludge has grown wearisome to me, and I prefer it when Nequient operates at full-blast, as on the Vonnegut-inspired “Cat’s Cradle” or the you-know-what-inspired “Kakistocracy.”
Produced by Pete Grossmann (Immortal Bird / Weekend Nachos) and mastered by the omnipresent Brad Boatright (about 90% of the crusty scene these days, seems like), Wolves At The Door benefits greatly from its thick and scuzzy tones; powerful and ugly, yet refined. The only minor quibble I have is that the album does kind of drag a little long towards the end — I don’t know specifically where a cut could be made, but trimming about five to ten minutes off the forty-plus-minute runtime would make the whole proceeding a little more compactly vicious.
At the end of the day, Nequient’s stream-crossing is appropriately destructive, if still a bit by-the-numbers as it zigs and zags through various attacks. Nequient has come a long way since their 2014 demo, and Wolves At The Door shows the pay-off to their four years of growth. Overall, it’s still in the shadow of its influences — it’s a straight shot backwards from here to the Converges and Coalesces — but Wolves is a strong introductory salvo, and one definitely worth a spin for anyone in favor of thoroughly pissed-off cross-pollinated hardcore-metal-grind-sludge.