REVIEW: Wolfheart – The Wolves of Karelia (Musicalypse Archive)

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The band WOLFHEART rises from a nation that holds a lot of mystery, despair, and enchantment. The mastermind of the wolf pack, Tuomas Saukkonen, has been conveying melodic death metal in a variety of bands for a generous measure of years, but put them all aside to start this project. From the point WOLFHEART released their first album, “Winterborn” in 2013, they established themselves as an amazing force in the metal scene. Now presenting their fifth full-length album, “Wolves of Karelia,” this new collection of eight songs, released on April 10, 2020, is extending their impressive discography. The gloomy sound of their “winter metal” brings this genre to new, innovative peaks.

“Wolves of Karelia.” In spite of the fact that there is no direct link between songs, the album has an immersing story. Here, WOLFHEART dives into the encounters of the Finnish Winter War, the conflict between Finland and the Soviet Union during the second world war, which saw the Finns repel the Russian intruders against overwhelming odds. Be that as it may, beyond a shadow of a doubt this isn’t a record for the chest-beating greatness-searchers. WOLFHEART handles this idea with their trademark melancholy, offering darkness and severity every step of the way.

The album starts with the initial opening song, “Hail of Steel.” The audience gets a moment of hopeful instrumental music that develops the feel with a double pedal, played and recorded with such a feeling as though one is walking to war. The beat is set to a dashing pace as the melody spreads and afterward, when Saukkonen‘s vocals kick in, the mayhem and gore are completely discharged. Guitar riffing quickly makes a vainglorious air before the four-piece crashes into upbeat, darkened, melodic demise metal animosity. The speed never truly eases up, even in the wretchedness-doused melody.

Between the size of the aggressive growls and Joonas Kauppinen‘s forceful drum work, a furious state of mind is set. The melodies from “Horizon on Fire” dive much more deeply into the despair. They keep up the savage force while investigating the emotive atmospheres that have become a staple of the WOLFHEART sound, purposefully meshing sadness into the mind-boggling songwriting.

“Reaper” feels like one of the heaviest tracks the band has ever put to tape and “The Hammer” plays with a black metal sound as the coarseness and shock of the number will set the head windmilling about. The crunch and tenseness ventures into some messy profundities to reveal wild hostility… that is, until “The Hammer” crushes you against a blacksmith’s iron. WOLFHEART brings their quintessential environment and despair, mixed with the absolute most brutalizing hostility of their profession. Never halting for breath, they nevertheless had the boldness to toss in some ear-worm snares on the off chance that the aural gutting wasn’t sufficiently exceptional. It’s only in the final moments that the track drives pleasantly into the instrumental recess of “Eye of the Storm,” washing the listener in tragic hopelessness.

“Born from Fire” pours down like a whirlwind, keeping up the serious climate yet bringing darkened tremolo riffing to the fore. Before a devastating score dominates, the melodic dark metal impact leeks in again over the band. Comparing the beating step pleasantly and driving into some elegant buzz-saw riffing, the performance works in the midst of the sonic murkiness in an uncommon yet inviting expansion. Penultimate track “Arrows of Chaos” fills in as a last heave of hostility, using all the exemplary melo-demise, dark metal impacts, and old-school metal. The excellent “Ashes” closes “Wolves of Karelia” in an exceptionally passionate manner, utilizing the attention coordination.

Saukkonen and his bandmates invoke the emotional with their carefully serious melodic death metal like no other band. The entire album uncovers the solid, versatile character of Finland by paying great attention to the detail and quality of their work. I, for one, am always in search of exceptional death and black metal for my private album collection and WOLFHEART is definitely finding their way in. Overall, “Wolves of Karelia” is well-written and produced album with great ideas and riffs and the winter metal sound exceeds the imagination. WOLFHEART has done great work.

Written by Peter Jerman
Musicalypse, 2020
OV: 1891
OS: 8.5/10

Tracklist

  1. Hail of Steel
  2. Horizon on Fire
  3. Reaper
  4. The Hammer
  5. Eye of the Storm
  6. Born from Fire
  7. Arrows of Chaos
  8. Ashes

Lineup

Tuomas Saukkonen – vocals, guitar, bass, drums

Lauri Silvonen – bass, vocals

Joonas Kauppinen – drums

Label

Napalm Records

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