Rating:
7.0
Wolvhammer - Clawing Into Black Sun
8 July 2014


01. The Silver Key
02. Clawing Into Black Sun
03. Slaves To The Grime
04. The Desanctification
05. Lethe
06. In Reverence
07. Death Division
08. A Light That Does Not Yield


Here we go again with this blackened sludge thing. As any style evolves and gains more practitioners, it inevitably becomes more varied in its delivery, and Wolvhammer are standing as an example of this. Separating themselves from more filthy contemporaries such as Coffinworm and Dragged Into Sunlight, these Americans are a lot less harsh than some of their peers, a fact that, in regards to their latest album, can be both pleasing and displeasing.

Clawing Into Black Sun, Wolvhammer's third release, more or less follows upon what they've already established: a blackened sludge style that leans much more towards sludge than the black metal. This is essentially just sludge with some BM vocals: crunchy, moderately paced, and groovy. Although the music is well performed, the production is rather clean and crisp, lacking some of the murkiness we've come to get used to from some other bands within the blackened sludge spectrum, which makes Clawing Into Sun a lot less assaulting upon the senses than listeners are probably used to from this style. Depending on what you're looking for, this could alternatively be either enjoyable or dismissible.

In part, this feeling of mellowness for Wolvhammer is due largely to the part that a good sense of melody is sprinkled here and there in Clawing Into Black Sun. This is perhaps the most interesting part of the album, as this technique has thus far tended to be a rare feature in blackened sludge. The brief instrumental "Lethe," as well as "A Light That Doesn't Yield," possibly the highlight of the album, both flirt around with a bit of a dark atmospheric touch, the latter track even containing some clean vocals to really help build upon this vibe. As cool as this formula is though, it disappoints in a way because of its underdevelopment. If the approach taken with "A Light That Doesn't Yield" was more prevalent throughout Clawing Into Black Sun, it would be a much more engaging and enjoyable listen.

At the end of the day, Clawing Into Sun isn't a bad release, but it's really nothing all that stunning either. Not being as soul crushing as some other blackened sludge bands are isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Wolvhammer seem to not have built upon a sense of uniqueness as much as would be desired, to the point of being a notable needle in the haystack, so to speak. Still, the band have still shown with Clawing Into Black Sun that they do have some variation to their sound, which ultimately makes them worth paying attention to, for the possibility that they might come more into a form they can distinctly call their own in the future.

Give it a peek.

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Band profile: Wolvhammer
Album: Clawing Into Black Sun


 



Written on 20.07.2014 by
Apothecary
"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you"
-Carl Jung
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Ilham - 20.07.2014 at 05:59  
Honestly, it ends up being a bit boring. I found it lacking the causticity I would have thought to find because of the black vocals. As you said, the production is surprisingly clean enough, which I don't mind at all. It's so/so for me.
Apothecary - 20.07.2014 at 08:42  
Written by Ilham on 20.07.2014 at 05:59

Honestly, it ends up being a bit boring. I found it lacking the causticity I would have thought to find because of the black vocals. As you said, the production is surprisingly clean enough, which I don't mind at all. It's so/so for me.

It is a bit boring, the tracks other than the ones I mentioned more or less all sound the same and don't really have that big a sense of personality. It's well delivered at least, but I still think I'll be sticking with stuff like Indian or Lord Mantis
mz - 20.07.2014 at 11:39  
Duno, the fact that this has been released in the same year that gave us excellent blackend sludge makes this really underwhelming. I could barely finish it.
Apothecary - 20.07.2014 at 17:36  
Written by mz on 20.07.2014 at 11:39

Duno, the fact that this has been released in the same year that gave us excellent blackend sludge makes this really underwhelming. I could barely finish it.

Yep, new Coffinworm and Indian are definitely > this
Alex Fenger - 24.07.2014 at 18:21  
Very underwhelming release indeed. Nice review, but I would rate it a point lower.

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