For Fans Of
Protests, anarchy and social activism go hand in hand with hardcore and punk music like dude bros and Call Of Duty. So, it’s not that surprising that one of Germany’s more respected hardcore bands, Wolf Down, have released another album of challenging the Man, man, and the ever-present status quo (Really loving the German stuff this week, aren’t we?).
Lyrically, these songs – each and every one of them – deal with rising up against the injustices of the government and world as a whole. And, you know what? As these guys are German, this shit hits harder than most international bands could ever hope for when they also do the whole ‘Us Vs. Them’ theme (for obvious reasons). Being vegan and straight edge equally helps this out too (oi, knock it off with those eye-rolls, we saw that), and real talk: when was the last time that a social-activist-now-prisoner recognised a hardcore band, in a recent letter, for helping them to keep their sanity and will to live while currently incarcerated. Yeah, that’s what we thought. Plus, all the lyrics on this release are in English, unlike the fabled FJORT.
Moving on from that rather serious paragraph, musically, this album is just hardcore 101. Nothing special, but nothing that’s bad by any means. Heavy riffs, gruff screams and yells, and thick bass lines and tight grooves make up this 11 song affair. And that’s really it – hardcore at its most simple, yet still being somewhat solid. However, the album is also about 25 minutes long and it feels like it goes for only half that amount of time, which is a bit of a godsend as much like a David Bowie album, the themes and concepts behind the art are easily the most interesting element of said art.
This is also one of the band’s first releases with their new vocalist, Dave Mikrofon, who replaced Larissa Gruppe back in 2014. And honestly, he has made the band, unfortunately, sound more or less pretty generic, we’re sorry to say. See, Gruppe made the band sound somewhat unique due to a) having this dirty as fuck snarl/bark that perfectly suited the music and lyrics so well, and b) because sweet shit, we really do need more females up on stage. But not just because of equality (though that is a big plus) but because there are certain things that only a woman can make truly special and meaningful through music. For instance, why is Outright‘s ‘Troubled‘ and ‘A City Silent‘ so goddamned powerful? Because when coming from the mouth of a man, some topics – such as sexual assault and domestic violence – just sound kinda forced or they at least come out lukewarm. Now, that’s a bit of a generalisation, but it happens just enough that a different perspective can make all the difference. With the new guy, it just doesn’t come out that way.
With their new album and with a new vocalist in tow, Wolf Down have sadly taken a step backwards. This isn’t a bad record per say, it’s just that it doesn’t match the pedigree we’ve come to expect from this German act.
1. Barricade Fever
2. Against The Grain
4. Invisible War
5. Flames Of Discontent
6. At Daggers Drawn
9. True Deceivers
10. Touch Of Reason
11. The Fortress