Wervolf – Blut Und Schmerz

Wervolf finally turns out a full-length, and it’s certainly a sprawling one, encompassing all the various directions that the project’s musical career has gone in, while still revolving around its trademark point. One moment, you’re working with Wervolf’s patented brand of punky black/thrash/NWOBHM, the next a much more traditional style of raw black metal, and yet next one of the more romantic and depressive moments that are peppered throughout his discography. Throughout it all, though, it remains resolutely rooted in the unique aesthetic that has always defined the band’s sound. Wervolf is always going to sound like Wervolf, and though the style may bend and shift at times, it will always be what it is.

The structure of this is a lot like the previous release, and feels more like a compilation than a proper album, though most of the music here hasn’t appeared on previous releases. The majority of the material feels like it could have come off any of the previous demos or splits. If you haven’t heard Wervolf’s sound, you really should: it’s a breed of uptempo, thrashy black metal with trad-inspired melodies and solos, and it’s not like anything else in the world, really. It periodically diverges into other territory, though. ‘Aryan Black Metal’ moves in a more punk-inspired direction, like Frost’s work with his side project Retaliation. ‘Fog Of Despair’ is probably the most raw and brutal black metal track the band has composed, lacking almost all of the traditional metal influence that Wervolf usually indulges in. ‘Cutting’, featured on a previous (and very limited) promo, is a guitar and vocal only track that’s one of the most openly emotional and haunting the project has made, with particularly bleak guitar lines rambling throughout its long running time. The album never really stops changing or sets into a particular feeling.

I do like it a lot, but I like essentially everything by Wervolf. It’s a great place to start if this is your first time hearing the band; it covers everything that the project does quite succinctly and has some classic songs on it. I could level some criticism at it for not really functioning as a complete album, and more as just a collection of songs, but it doesn’t seem to be a particularly glaring flaw in this case. Bottom line: if you like Wervolf, you’ll like this, and if you’re interested in hearing the project for the first time, it’s also an excellent choice.

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~ by noktorn on March 4, 2008.

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