Wolverine - Still review
01. A House of Plague
03. Taste of Sand
04. Nothing More
05. Sleepy Town
06. Liar on the Mount
08. This Cold Heart of Mine
09. And She Slowly Dies
"Walked into a house of plague-the infection everywhere -
At first disguised by hollow warmth, the unleashed upon us…."
The album opens, you hear these lyrics, and BAM! The wonder that is Wolverine hits you in the head, leaving you confused and wondering how have you not heard of this band before. And indeed, they're pretty unknown, even to the prog world, which is a shame. If there are "hidden gems" in the music world, lying around and waiting to be found, this particular release is a goddamned diamond.
This is their third full-length release, the one which defines them and their style best. The first one, though good, suffered from lack of experience and the follow-up, though good as well, is too mood-dependent to be enjoyed by everyone. On this one they've found the perfect formula - dark, emotional - no, the better word is passionate - angry and atmospheric music. Yep, I threw all the big words in there, and now it's time for some big comparisons - if you've enjoyed Dream Theater's Awake, or Pain Of Salvation's Remedy Lane, or even Shadow Gallery's Room V, there's no reason for you not to like this release. Why? It contains and releases a similar spectrum of emotions, demanding a similar state of mind from the listeners.
Now that I have your full and undivided attention, I'll try to make this review a little more useful and tangible. There are nine tracks, the average track length is somewhere around 5 to 6 minutes (for people afraid of lengthy tracks - nope, none goes over 9 minutes), so it kinda falls short in length, but there is a lot going on in those 45-ish minutes so you'll be quick to forgive the band. There are no fast songs, most tracks are mid-tempo with variety within the same song. There are not too many uneven riffs or spacey moments, so people not very interested in this aspect of prog can listen to it and enjoy.
How do they create that atmosphere and weave passion in their melodies? Haven't got the slightest clue, the music keeps me enchanted and occupied so I don't have a lot of time to ponder what happens behind the curtain. A lot of very melodic guitars, acoustic verses, pounding drums and amazing vocals strive to get your attention, though my personal favorite is definitely the vocalist Stefan. Vocalists with such colorful voices and unorthodox, but yet so pleasant singing techniques are a rarity. The lyrics may be personal, but everyone who ever pondered about human character, our inability to do certain things for each other, locking ourselves in prisons of the mind and having angry relationships with God and/or religion can find parts of lyrics to his liking.
Having a small number of tracks can be a real benefit, because all of them are special, so I really can't say which one is my favorite. But there's the "odd" track very dear to me, called "Sleepy Town" - the band's little pop experiment carried on to "Pulse" in the latest album. Oh, speaking of which - after five years of what seemed to be an indefinite hiatus, the band returned, stronger than ever, with their latest effort Communication Lost. It moves in similar soundscapes, but isn't just a simple counter-part of Still, and it's highly enjoyable as well, so - have a listen to that one as well. Or two. Or five. Or A LOT, like yours truly.
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