Album Review: Werewolves - From the Cave to the Grave
Reviewed by Gareth Pugh
Look to the skies, those prophetic antipodeans are about to release album number three, the intriguingly titled ‘From the Cave to the Grave’. Now bear in mind that coinciding with their previous releases, some form of global catastrophe has occurred, whether it was the debut album ‘The Dead Are Screaming‘ which when it was conceived and recorded mid-year 2019 in Australia, was immediately followed by half that country burning to the ground. Or the sophomore release ‘What A Time to Be Alive’ which was recorded early 2020 and was immediately followed by a global pandemic. So, l probably shouldn’t even mention the ‘DeathMetal’ EP, from February 2022, which happened to be released the same day war broke out in Ukraine.
So, as you can imagine, it’s with some trepidation, I write this latest review. If you’re not familiar with Werewolves, let me fill you in with what they are about. They say, “We are better than you”, that's their attitude, and describe themselves as "Caveman Metal", which implies a primordial, primitive, and lowest base form of death metal. And to a point that’s sort of true, but don’t expect simple riffs and rhythms here. This bunch, whatever they want you to believe, are top notch musicians and everything is designed for one thing, and one thing only: maximum hatred. That’s the best way to describe what these guys are about. There’s also a supremely dark humour prevailing throughout, at least I hope it's dark humour, else it’s even bleaker than I imagined.
After a brief but insightful (and very funny) spoken intro it's straight into the proceedings, visceral slabs of hate pour out of your speakers in a wave of crushing repulsion and a tidal wave of nausea. The riffs of guitarist Matt Wilcox (The Berzerker, Akercocke, etc.), are thick, heavy, and gut wrenchingly twisted, backed by the pummelling drums of Dave Haley (Psycroptic, Abramelin, Ruins, King, Blood Duster), who provides a limitless supply of fills and blast-beats, and the thunderous bass and guttural vocals of Sam Bean (The Antichrist Imperium, The Berzerker). It’s almost pointless giving a track-by-track description, as each and every song is literally a melting pot of old school influences, the execution is wonderfully imperfect and imprecise and dare I say, there is a sloppiness to the whole thing, that just adds to the overall bludgeoning effect.
The only respite in the whole experience is ‘Harvest of the Souls’ which adds a cool black metal vibe into the overall chaos, with clean guitars over the relentless, rolling bass drums. It’s an interesting dynamic, but not to worry, it's soon back to the crushing, barbaric ferocity. The production is suitably harsh, don’t expect razor sharp clean riffage, this is dirtier than a prison sewer, with all the muck and filth you’d associate with that nightmare situation.
And do you want to know the scary part? It’s that this is only the start, the band have already written three more albums to follow this one. This is a band intent not on world domination, but on world destruction. Enjoy, while you still can!