Just last night, when writing about German band wolf prayer, and the track ‘Desert,’ I mentioned that they ‘… won’t commit to this tagging, although not completely denying it either. The album, I’m assured, contains some surprising tracks. I’m intrigued.’
The tagging to which I referred, relates to the one of ‘stoner’ which seems to be thrown in their direction. Now, having heard the whole ‘Echoes of the Second Sun,’ album, I understand why they are slightly reticent to simply accept the description of their music.
I have been writing about new music, either for this blog or Artrocker Magazine, for about thirteen years; I have been to countless gigs and seen innumerable bands of all musical genres. Well, almost
Yet it still amazes me how bands can come up with new sounds; new amalgamations of styles; experiments that blossom into something big.
And this is exactly what wolf prayer have done with this, their debut album.
Take the opening track, for example:
‘Average Man,’ opens opens with what sounds a roaring guitar feedback, drops into a quiet riff, before the bass line and pounding drums take over. The riff permeates all this though, and immediately that ‘stoner’ tag comes back into focus. The vocal style would add confirmation. As does the searing guitar solo.
But then, with about a minute and a half remaining of the seven minutes long track, all that has gone before vanishes. Just like that. And in its place – quiet, synths / keyboards in like an old school Prog Rock style. I know – it kind of sounds ridiculous, but this exemplifies my earlier point of experiments that blossom.
It does actually work!
The second track, ‘According To The Rule,’ is a dark and moody, heavy riff-laden doom style song. Think Linkin Park on Mogadon. But better.
‘Desert‘ follows. Then comes ‘Shapeshifter’ – an aptly named track that takes on various forms and moods throughout its seven minute duration.
‘New Morning,’ opens quietly, explodes into life with the pounding drums and huge guitar riffs, drops away and then erupts again for a prolonged spell with searing guitar fighting the drums for prominence. And here comes ‘surprise’ number two – half way through this track (guess how long it lasts – yup, seven minutes!) there is a two minute or so breakdown when a muted and funky bass line gives way to some far-out jazzy keyboards. It’s all very Deodata’s version of ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra,’ if you ask me. But I love it!
But don’t worry, riff lovers – the final minute and a half sees their return!
‘Like A Fool,’ is more straightforward – booming and gloomy, pissed-off stoner style – although the plucked guitar in the final third gives it something slightly different just ahead of pace picking up and racing towards the conclusion.
‘Strings Like A Puppet,’ is I think the most mono-tempo track on the album. Slow, slothful and threatening with fuzzed-up, buzzing guitar
‘Feed My Brain‘ closes the album – all fifty minutes or so, if my arithmetic is correct. It’s a slow burner, is this one. It moves in steps, like a classical piece would do in ‘movements’ and grows in intensity with each section before finally dropping away the band leave the building. Actually. Yes – the band leave the building.
I have to nail my colours to the mast here – I love this album.
I love the heavy, conventional sounds. I love it for incorporating some ‘desert’ rock alongside ‘stoner.’ I love it for the surprises, the little funky and jazzy interludes.
But most of all I love it for the courage shown by a band in this field to experiment – and to pull it off.
This could be the best twenty Euros you’ll spend in a long time.
(The link above is for the coloured vinyl release, not the ‘bundle’ as shown below.)