On Black Soul Choir, the new album from Norwegian rockers Wolves Like Us, the final song is called “Thanatos Wins Again”, a brooding yet rather beautiful track that is almost saturated in thick, almost fuzzy distortion. Singer/guitarist Larsh alternates between hauntingly speaking the lyrics and roaring forth while the music hypnotically swirls and rumbles beneath.
Thanatos, the Greek god of non-violent death, might very well be the perfect deity that the band could have used as part of their own mythos. While undoubtedly heavy and rough around the edges, there is never a time when I felt their music has been inaccessible. Rather, it’s the complete opposite. They introduce this style of music, their so-called “Dark Rock”, and it never feels abrasive. Rather, it wraps its melancholic arms around you, embracing you, pulling you gently into an album that is as exciting as it is rewarding.
Opening with “Days Of Ignorance”, which clocks in at just under a minute and 30 seconds, the album begins with a frenzied burst of energy. It gives a brief moment to allow the listener to catch their breath before diving into the thrilling “Three Poisons”. “I Don’t Need To Be Forgiven” is one of the longer tracks on the album, allowing the band the take their time and demonstrate all the qualities that make them such a formidable band.
Special attention needs to be given to “Lovescared”, a gentle, sublime track that shows the softer side of the band. It also demonstrates just how strong vocalist Larsh can be, especially when it comes to his vocal harmonies. Another track that takes its time and is a perfect example of the unique instrumental tones (seriously, the guitars and bass sound so lush) is “We Were Blood”, which features a tremendous climax build up.
What’s so great about this band is that they obviously communicate incredibly well as a band. They know when certain instruments need to hold back for the betterment of the song. No one shows off unnecessarily, allowing the sum to do the talking versus the parts.
Something about the atmosphere of this album makes me want to listen to it while walking through a dark forest or while sitting on some Irish hillside with steel gray clouds looming overhead. It has a mysteriously alluring aura, one that just refused to let me go. I started this album and, before I knew what had happened, I had listened to it several times in a row without noticing. Each spin brought something new, something unheard.
The Final Word: I absolutely adored Wolves Like Us‘ debut album, Late Love. Since that came out I have been eagerly awaiting a second album and Black Soul Choir lived up to my expectations. It’s a fantastic album from a band who hopefully have a long, incredible career ahead of them.