I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Last Rites is slowly transitioning from metal to punk. Thanks to our very own Craig Hayes, we recently had a multiple volume crust feature that will now be an ongoing piece, and Craig also pushes punk that might as well just reside in a trash can. Hell, sometimes I think Last Rites should be thrown into a trash can. But then there’s the whole issue that Last Rites exists online, and you can’t really throw the internet into a trash bin. You can and should throw your computer into the nearest trash bin, though. That is something that we absolutely support.*
To allay your fears, we can assure you that Last Rites is not becoming a punk outlet. What we are is an appreciator of all things heavy, which obviously includes punk. We also happen to be a bunch of highly intelligent (with a few exceptions), socially conscious adults who absolutely love the artistry of music. While we might not tag all our posts with #Resist and other hip shit, you can be sure that behind the scenes we are actually concerned with the world! So, deal with it. From time to time we are going to talk about punk and hardcore and other stuff. I mean, sorry if you saw all the Jazz on some of our personal year end lists. I can assure you that you probably don’t have to worry about us pushing Woody Guthrie or Waylon Jennings or Erykah Badu on you, even though they are all punk as fuck.
Let’s begin by saying the following: if this wolf is bleeding, then this wolf has done bled out, because this album is relentless. Like Disfear colliding with Snapcase, Wolfsblood has no interest in breakdowns, slowdowns or meditation. Only the tiniest of breathing room is allowed on this album, one of which occurs briefly in the third track “Le Trezieme,” and the other is the intro to “Kamagra,” which calls to mind From Ashes Rise (not the only spot on the album that does so).
There are times here where Wolfsblood peel away and you’re square in the middle of Snapcase’s Progression Through Unlearning. That’s primarily because of Divina’s vocals. When they aren’t at a throat-scratching low alto growl, they are a blistering monotone completely reminiscent of Daryl Taberski. Eerily so. This is, of course, a great thing. Further, it speaks to Wolfsblood’s hardcore leanings contained in their furious d-beat assault.
What’s outside the standard punk / hardcore / d-beat mold are the guitar solos. Go back to “Kamagra,” for example. After the track explodes into an aggressive, skyscraper-smashing assault, two overlapping guitars rip brief solos that sound like an amped up C.C. DeVille on drugs. Well, C.C. was always on drugs, but these sound like he was on even more drugs. With an almost blues-bent, trills and finger exercises show more than a touch of metal (early metal) influence on Wolfsblood. A nice give back for the Swedish crew whose punk scene gave more than a pinch of seasoning to the birth of extreme metal.
At other points on the album, like “Bury Your Heart,” the band takes a page out of the Description Motörhead playbook, using blues bends and amped up standard rock leads to anchor the attack. Here the guitar solo, unlike the lead, is subdued; it contrasts the frenetic lead with subtle melody and touch. It is, of course, short-lived. Wolfsblood were put on this earth to play fast, straightforward d-beat of the Swedish variety with just nods and shoutouts to the American scene, the English scene, and of course, the early tenets of metal.
An impression: “Oh hi. We’re Wolfsblood. Check out our final song. It is longer than normal and starts out moderately paced with the toughest, harshest vocals on the LP. But guess what, it’s gonna melt your face off.” Obviously that was a spot on impression of Wolfsblood in the studio. “Unalive” is wide open and leaves spaces where extra weapons might be stashed, and it proves that the band can use restraint as effectively as they can use brutality. That’s mostly due to evil pacing and a vocal performance fit for the annals of punk rock.
Spin Vomit & Lice, but be aware that after thirty seven minutes you will be just another victim in the wake of global destruction that follows the HSwMS Wolfsblood.
“Suicide is painless.”
* Last Rites does not support throwing away perfectly good computers. First off, it’s wasteful. Second, it’s horrible for the environment. Third, your parents will be very upset with you, since you threw away the computer that also contains many of their cherished memories from 1998 to present.