Tuesday, 22 July 2014

War Wolf - Crushing The Ways Of The Old LP


Hitting my physical review pile today and look what I pulled out! The second LP from Brighton's War Wolf. This was one of the last releases to shake my teeth last year, after it was put out on vinyl by the unholy trio of Tadpole, Atomsmasher and Headless Guru Records and also on tape by Tartarus (though they've sold out of their copies) and Dry Cough Records!

We are living in an increasingly angry and segregated world and War wolf know that, judging by the song titles on Crushing The Ways Of The Old. They have an outlet though and are able to channel that anger into fast, but sometimes sludgy punk. Riding With Demons was loud, but something tells me this is going to up the ante!

Tracklist:-

1. Christianity (Is Dying)
2. Oxygen Thieves
3. The Upper Hand
4. Denial/Decline
5. Doomed To Crave
6. Legalized Love
7. Douse These Cinders
8. Pro-Choice
9. Democratic Failures
10. Cave Dwellers
11. The Buried Believer
12. Muskets At Dawn

Opener Christianity (Is Dying) sounds like War Wolf channelled their inner Eyehategod, while writing and recording it. Like fellow Brit riff worshipers Iron Witch, War Wolf go for a guitar led sound full of groove. The song’s theme is bleak but relevant. No Gods No Masters and all that! After the brash intro, Oxygen Thieves takes the album’s anger in another direction and aims it squarely at the types of people that we struggle to tolerate in our daily lives. War Wolf have never been about slower-than thou passages, unlike brethren Sea Bastard and instead use hardcore and punk during The Upper Hand. That extra urgency doesn’t harm things though and blasting this song loud is still a massive pleasure. Denial/Decline may as well be a song straight from the book of Slayer or Napalm Death. It’s brief and contains blastbeats. Rad!

Between their debut LP Riding With Demons and this one, War Wolf’s musicianship has progressed. Ant’s drumming during Doomed To Crave proves that. It takes the atmosphere down a few notches, but it’s still War Wolf doing what they do best. The feedback at the start of Legalized Love sounds like some kind of unholy woodwind orchestra. Read the lyrics on the back of vinyl sleeve and it’s obvious what Legalized Love is about. Heavy band in praise of political decision shocker! Jokes aside though, the song and the band do have a serious message. Mid-way through already and Douse These Cinders sends Crushing The Ways Of The Old back into punk territory for the majority of it’s sub-three minute existence. When it does slow down, it’s…well… crushing. War Wolf wire more political grievances with Pro-Choice, which is about the right-to-die debate, while Democratic Failures nods toward the anti-war sentiment that has become more prolific since Tony Blair’s decision to send British troops into Afghanistan to assist the Bush administration.

The short blasts of Cave Dwellers and The Buried Believer, rise above and fall below copious amounts of feedback. That and an underlying sentiment born of dissolution and hate. It’s amazing how your mood changes as you move through the record. I was ready to fist pump and headband at the start of Crushing The Ways… but now find myself thinking about the political themes expressed in the later songs. Any band that can do that to their listeners must be doing something right. Closer Muskets At Dawn is mostly instrumental and experimental. It seems like the slower pace is also a way for War Wolf to allow their rage to subside slightly. It’s fair to say that Crushing The Ways Of The Old is one such album that makes you think, instead of just being something you can listen to and forget. Heck, even the cover art on the front of the sleeve provides food for thought. This Brighton three-piece have definitely stepped it up and are using their outlet to change hearts and minds. Good work!

You can stream the whole record on War Wolf's bandcamp page:-



It's available as a pay-what-you-want download or you can buy it in both cassette and vinyl form. Either way, make sure you support the band.

You can also buy the album on vinyl and tape from these fine purveyors of heaviness:-

Tadpole Records - http://www.discogs.com/seller/tadpolerecords
Atomsmasher Records - http://atomsmasherrecords.bigcartel.com/products
Headless Guru Records - http://headlessgururecords.bigcartel.com
Dry Cough Records - http://drycoughrecords.bigcartel.com/products

War Wolf Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/War-Wolf
Tadpole Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tadpole-Records-Distro
Atomsmasher Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AtomsmasherRecords
Headless Guru Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HeadlessGuruRecords
Tartarus Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TartarusRecords
Dry Cough Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords

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