Monday, October 24, 2011

Wolvhammer - "The Obsidian Plains" (2011) [Profound Lore Records]

So 2011 has been pretty cool as far as far as taking black metal to new, progressive heights, but I've been sort of stuck in a rut with the genre recently. Yeah, it's nice that so many bands have taken it upon themselves to bring something new to the table, or at least think they're helping out, but when is it too much? Sometimes a guy just wants angry riffs, "Satan at my right hand" shrieks, and pounding drums and, frankly, quite a bit of that has disappeared from black metal. Luckily, Chicago's own Minnesota transplants Wolvhammer have taken it upon themselves to take black metal from "faeries" and "philosophy" back to pure, blackened hatred and an affinity for misanthropy.

To put it lightly, Wolvhammer's sophomore album The Obsidian Plains gives a grizzled, angry metal fan like myself hope for the future. Don't get me wrong, I love music, but everything seems so overdone; every "blackened crust" group is just poorly recorded Anti-Cimex with harsh vocals and blast beats, "atmospheric black metal" has just turned into poorly crafted, obscured melodies, overshadowed by shoddy, half-assed politics, et cetera, et cetera. It's all been done...or so I thought. Throughout The Obsidian Plains we see Wolvhammer weave effortlessly through the most conservative of black metal, grimy crust punk, traditional heavy metal, and even expansive, atmospheric doom metal, all while sounding cohesive and fresh and fearless, if not horrendously pissed off. Charging with the power of a demon-led fleet of panzers through forty-four minutes of some of the finest metal I've heard this year, Wolvhammer's testosterone-and-hate-fueled The Obsidian Plains cuts just as deep as the mineral for which the album is named (speaking from personal experience, obsidian is fucking SHARP).

Ever since Nachtmystium abdicated the throne upon releasing Assassins three years ago, Chicago has needed a new reigning black metal band, and since there's no sign of Akhenaten coming back with a new Judas Iscariot album, the ferocious Wolvhammer will have to do. Here's hoping that The Obsidian Plains will act as a guiding light for more bands to bring black metal back into the spotlight, rather than "blackened shoegaze," or whatever it is you kids listen to. The Obsidian Plains comes out on Profound Lore this coming October 25th (tomorrow). Get it.


1 comment:

  1. That record release show ruled. That was the tightest Wolvhammer set I've ever seen. Great review!


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