Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wolvhammer: The Obsidian Plains (2011)


Black metal has been borrowing a lot from hardcore in recent memory. Last year's release from Castevet and the French band Celeste are only two examples of the phenomenon. Add Minnesota's Wolvhammer to the list.

"A Defiled Aesthetic" displays all of the hardcore characteristics of the band: a punky riff, backing vocals that sound suspiciously like gang vocals, and feedback screeching aimlessly in the background, among others. You'll find all of those things to varying degrees throughout the album. But it's not as if you can pass this one up just because you already have Mounds of Ash.

Wolvhammer is distinct in that their approach is about as raw and primitive as the formula allows. Where Castevet approaches the black metal / hardcore blend like "Artists" trying to create "Art" (in stereotypical New York fashion), Wolvhammer approaches it with Midwestern simplicity. They're pissed off, and this is how they express it. It's as straight-forward as that.

The Verdict: If you like Castevet, you owe it to yourself to check out Wolvhammer. If you hate Castevet because you think they tread too close to pretension, then you owe it to yourself to check out Wolvhammer. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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