Album Review: ALPHA WOLF - A Quiet Place To Die
Artist: Alpha Wolf
Album: A Quiet Place To Die
Review by Darren Hurford
This is a fight. You are smaller, weaker, less prepared and about to be totally overwhelmed by a larger and far more vicious opponent who has the firm intent to, no, WILL, destroy you. This is what it felt like listening to Alpha Wolf’s new album ‘A Quiet Place To Die’. Words like “smother”, “crush” and “dominate” came to mind upon hearing this fury of an album. The sophomore release from the Melbourne 5-piece is a self-professed step-up from their 2019 EP ‘Fault’, feeling like they’ve finally found their emotional, musical and energetic groove. Having already released three singles from the album to a rousing cry for more, the album truly shows that they’ve taken the lessons from the past and are now kicking them in the teeth!
Within the opening seconds of ‘A Quiet Place to Die’, you get the feeling that you’re in for something sinister. This feeling proves to be correct, being delivered violently in the form of the teeth-gnashing vocals and driving guitar riffs that have made Alpha Wolf the personification of their namesake. By the time you get to the first single from the album, "Akudama" (meaning villain in Japanese), you’re already exhausted. Well, too bad, ‘coz this one’s coming for you! The chaotic distortion of angry-bees-style guitar, running snare drum transitioning to heavy toms, then culminating in vocalist Lochie Keogh’s opening line of “Watch the bodies drop!”, show us exactly why this one is described by the band as “the most Alpha Wolf song [they’ve] ever written”. All this is smashed into your face within the first 8 seconds.
"Rot In Pieces" is as chaotic a song as you might find in the genre, with the low end bass and guitars forcing you to feel it right in your chest, then expertly contrasted with fast and chaotic drumming, feeling like you’re trapped in a hurricane inside a room. Even the album’s “slower” song and most recent single, "bleed 4 you", bursts in like an angry lover out for vengeance.
"Ultra-Violet Violence" is a bouncing, charging anthem of a song and sure to get the crowd moving (looking at you, people who start circle pits), while "Restricted (R18+)" shows off the bands musicianship with lightning fast guitar riffage, relentless, pulsating drums and a big ol’ “BLEGH!” straight from the rage centre of the brain! (It’s the amygdala for those interested, which shall now be known as the BLEGH! centre of the brain).
The band have taken what they’ve done in the past and, like any good creature who evolves, made themselves smarter, harder and with sharper teeth! Production wise, Alpha Wolf have brilliantly managed to make the dirty sludge of guitars sound razor sharp, teetering on the edge of harsh but adding to the ear-piercing yet all-encompassing power of this album. Whilst the drums and vocals will be right up in your face, they will each give you just enough room to breathe…..but only for a second.
Maybe when the next Doom game comes out these guys can do a collaboration with Mick Gordon. It’s like a big ol’ heavy metal bear hug, only you’re wearing a straight-jacket.
That has fire ants inside it.
And the walls are closing in.
And there are spikes on the walls.
Alpha Wolf are set to release the ferocity that is ‘A Quiet Place To Die’ on the world on 25th September via Greyscale Records & Sharptone Records. Strap in. Pre-orders are available now: https://grysclrec.lnk.to/quietplace
Best part: Finally getting the pronunciation of “A-KU-DA-MA-OOH!” right so I can pretend to sing along to it.
For fans of: Polaris, if they got shanked in a street fight, then spent the next 2 years getting prison yard swole just to exact revenge on the guy that did it. Yeah, THAT sort of swole!