Who out there wants to get in touch with his or her feelings? If your hand is raised, first, why are you doing that? Stop it. Second, if you do wish to connect with what’s inside your little heart, maybe back out of this story, because it won’t help you. Well, unless those emotions you harbor inside are ones of fury, hatred and misanthropy.
If that’s the case, I recommend you take on “The Obsidian Plains,” the second full-length from Minnesota blackened sludge anvil-throwers Wolvhammer. You won’t feel enlightened and enriched when this record is over. Your soul won’t bounce for joy. You won’t go out and buy chocolates for your little sweetie. You’ll be more inclined to, say, light your car on fire just for the hell of it. Let your dog shit in your annoying neighbor’s lawn because those people never seem to give a damn about your boundaries. I’d be worried if any of those Occupy folks got a hold of this smoking bastard because, if they did, we might go from peaceful protest to all-out, in-the-street brawling in no time (actually, the police seem to be doing a good enough job with that one). It’s not a record that anyone with the slightest thread of unrest will digest without incident. It’s here to incite, to prod, to aggravate, and the dudes sound like they’re having a damn good time stoking those fires.
This seven-track, 44-minute mauler, the follow-up effort to their excellent, ominously named 2009 album “Black Marketeers of World War III” (the band has a demo and EP to their credit as well) is relentless and unforgiving. It refuses to let you up for air. It won’t even let a hint of forgiveness enter your bloodstream because, who forgives and forgets these days? Who honestly could do that without feeling like a gullible rube? Not Wolvhammer, and the bile and filth smeared all over this thing will make you realize that sometimes lashing out and letting people know you’re not OK is the way to go. At least people may get the message that way, and if not, look out.
The fellows in the band – vocalist Adam Clemans, guitarist/bassist Andy Schoengrund, guitarist Jeff Wilson (ex-Nachtmystium), drummer Heath Rave (ex-Across Tundras) – just let loose and propel their anger and piss right at you, with no concern for where on your person it may land. The music is a total demolition, like a wrecking ball trying to take down a city block, whether the properties are damned or not. You might find your lungs choking on all the smoke and dust as a result, and while the tears are streaming your way down your sooty cheeks, you’ll realize you should have found a safe haven before all this madness started. But it’s too late now, and you’re in it. Maybe that’s a little over the top to you, but you won’t feel that way when taking on “The Obsidian Plains.”
“The Gleaming” provides a monstrous opening salvo, with screamy, creaky vocals, a bludgeoning guitar groove, and what sounds like a haunting synth hiss behind everything (with producer/key wizard Sanford Parker, I would expect that’s what I’m hearing), and that leads to “Writhe,” built on a roided-up Motorhead-style riff, double-kick drum thunder, and a melody line that gets your juices flowing. “Bones of the Pious” and “Shadowhorn” both have filthy punk rock directives beneath the absolute chaos, while “A Defiled Aesthetic” has a kick-ass black-n-roll pace complete with gang shouts and a righteously channeled aggression. Closer “The Sentinels” is like two songs smashed together, the first half playing as a spacious, psychologically damaged instrumental, the second portion blowing up into a hurricane of destruction that gives no warning as to its path.
No sense in breaking down the band’s nuances or their musical inspirations or any of that. This record doesn’t really call for that. Instead, it demands you get in touch with your inner barbarian, that person who wants to pillage without compassion, to even a few scores, and make people’s flesh rise up with welts. It’s a release of that inner aggression, that poison that could lead you to jail if you’re not careful, so if this serves as your release, then maybe you’ll be saved a whole lot of bail money by simply plunking down a few bucks for this hellacious album.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Wolvhammer
To download the band’s EP and demo, go here: http://wolvhammer.blogspot.com/
To buy “The Obsidian Plains,” go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com//index.php?option=com_ezcatalog&task=detail&id=788&Itemid=99999999
For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/