22 Sep Alpha Wolf ‘a quiet place to die’ (Album Review)
Alpha Wolf are a band I have a chequered history with. When I was in a band many moons ago I fucking despised those chuggy bastards. I could never understand why people enjoyed bands who acted tough but could be pushed over by a gust of wind. Then I realised that to be successful you need to work hard, which automatically ruled my old band out and is why I now pick on other bands via reviews. So if I ever make fun of your band, just remember I used to be in one, and we sucked. Doesn’t mean your band is any good, they probably suck as well, such is life.
While Alpha Wolf are one of the hardest working bands in Australia, 2019s Fault felt rushed and lacked polish. This got people asking questions. Are Alpha Wolf just another generic metalcore band? Have they hit their ceiling? Will Lochie drain the world’s supply of bucket hats? All equally valid questions going into 2020. So let’s see if Alpha Wolf are the next big thing and let’s review album number two, a quiet place to die.
I bet if you lined up every metalcore bands opening song they would all sync up sounding exactly the same for the first 15 seconds. Actually fuck it new game show idea, two people sit down and you play them any opening track from any metalcore album, whoever guesses the song first, wins. I’ll buy you a raspberry kombucha if you guess the song before the 10 second mark.
Once the ominous intro is out of the way the title track opens similar to Earthwalker by In Hearts Wake. Lochie delivers some ferocious vocals that instantly show how far he has come since joining the band. Guitars bounce from ear to ear like a quality game of table tennis, production is tight and fully realised. This is Alpha Wolf flexing their muscles. The tight run time gives this song a serious boost elevating an already impressive opener.
I honestly don’t care what anyone says, ‘metalcore snitches’ is the most unintentionally funny line of 2020. I can’t wait for a bunch of silly gooses to scream these lyrics while wearing crosshairs on their heads. Creep is a song that is abrasive and in your face, some people won’t enjoy how confronting this is but in all honesty, it’s much needed. The subject matter is as heavy as the song and even though I don’t consider myself a lyric guy, Creep is a truly unique cut.
I love some of the old school Of Mice & Men vibes I get on Golden Fate; Isolate. Some lovely guitar work is the standout from the third installment of the Golden Fate series. But the chorus is essentially Russian Roulette reworked making this the weakest in the franchise so far. I fully understand songs like this are built for the live setting, but besides an occasional flurry I found it a touch lacking. Looking forward to Golden Fate; Corona Gate coming soon to a ketflix near you.
Things pick up significantly with Akudama. Saying this is a song of the year contender is putting it lightly, this is Alpha Wolf at their very best. Accompanied by the second best video of the year (Hypa Hypa obviously number 1) Akudama is a near perfect metalcore banger. Hearing Lochie scream A-KU-DA-MA is goosebump inducing with every moment feeling earnt and having context within the song.
Acid Romance is ferociously heavy, like this is plain silly when you really listen to it. Ambient guitars are a nice touch and I’m a sucker for some nu metal bounce. Speaking of nu metal, I wonder how much it cost to get DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit to do a scratch solo on this cut. Closing out with a breakdown that would scare Brad Pitt away from Fight Club, Acid Romance bangs very hard from start to finish.
Opening like something off Deftones White Pony, Rot In Pieces quickly assaults the senses. This is a relentless onslaught that is perfectly blended with a fantastic chorus breaking things up from the chaos. A genuine standout song that could be the bands next single going forward. On the other side of the spectrum bleed 4 you is a fascinating song in the Alpha Wolf discography. Meticulously written, bleed 4 you is slower and shows off a completely new side of the band that is very welcome amidst the destruction surrounding it.
In 2020 song titles should not be as a long as The Mind Bends To A Will Of It’s Own, automatic points deducted. I will give those points back because the song is jaw droppingly heavy at times. A cheeky blast beat followed by a more precise style of songwriting clearly highlights how much better Alpha Wolf are in 2020. Top notch from every member and a standout on a quiet place to die.
My biggest love/hate song of the year goes to Restricted (R18+). The lethal pacing, drum changeups and overall songwriting are phenomenal throughout. Rightfully so this song sounds pissed off, and Lochie goes to a different level vocally once again. My issue comes with the wank song title, why is gods name would you not call this track XXX to pay homage too my man Vin Diesel, opportunity missed
Listening to don’t ask… for the first time I was completely floored at what was being presented. The atmosphere feels like a cross between Loathe and Deftones sounding unlike anything the band have done before. The brooding pace engulfs a phenomenal exhibition of what the band are capable of. My only complaint would be that this is so alien compared to the rest of the album, this to me is a blueprint that Alpha Wolf should use more often going forward. One of my favourites songs I have heard all year, skipping this track should be considered a crime.
Alpha Wolf showcase why they are regarded so highly turning everything up to 11 on a quiet place to die. This is unapologetically Alpha Wolf which works both for and against the band throughout the albums runtime. A few too many high pitch whiny guitars get distracting at times and things can get exhausting through the middle. Ultimately these are minor gripes on an otherwise excellent release. a quiet place to die is Alpha Wolf fully realised.
If you’re reading this review already a fan of Alpha Wolf, you will be a very happy customer. Alpha Wolf are only going to get bigger from this release and it’s exciting to be apart of the rise of Australias next breakout band. Seeing this album played live will surely give me a new appreciation for what the band have produced, but until then, get ready to get heavy, Alpha Wolf are 100% the next big thing.
a quiet place to die out September 25 via Greyscale Records/Sharptone Records