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Wolfbrigade: Damned

18/06/12  ||  gk

Back in the late 90s, a brand new music shop opened right in front of college. Valentine’s music store really didn’t promise much with its glitzy sign board and Bollywood posters but it didn’t deter me from walking in and checking it out. Amidst all of the Bollywood CDs and countless pirated compilation CDs of pop music were 5 extreme metal CDs. I don’t know how it ended up there but one of the CDs was Wolfpack’s “Lycanthro Punk”. The music was unlike anything I’d heard and “Motorhead gone death metal” seemed like a pretty apt description. It was only years later and thanks to the internet that I found out they were a d-beat band, had changed their name to Wolfbrigade and were still putting out albums. It was like finding an old but not forgotten friend and realizing there was a lot to catch up on.

Now, some 4 years after the last album “Comalive”, Wolfbrigade has returned with an absolutely stunning comeback album in “Damned”. The album opens with a troika of songs in “Feed the Flames”, “Slaves of Induction” and “Road to Dreams” that pretty much sound like Wolfbrigade always did and the rousing d-beat attack is pretty impressive but standard. It was with the chugging groove of “Curse of Cain” and the melodic guitar lines in this song that made me think there could be something special about this album. “On your knees… In misery” continues the aural bombardment but again there’s just a hint of melody that really lifts the song up. “Ride the Steel” is the mid album show-stopper and epic (by Wolfbrigade standards). A quiet intro leads into an absolutely exhilarating riff before the main body of the song rips with a strong sense of melody and great, aggressive riffing. The killer final third of the song combines another great melody with a strong, catchy groove and classic thrash riffs to terrific effect.

Wolfbrigade has released one hell of a comeback album with “Damned”. The band’s patented brand of d-beat is still alive and well and is the driving force behind these songs. At the same time, what make these songs so damn good are the little embellishments the band does. The biggest addition is the melodic sensibility in a lot of these songs which really gives Wolfbrigade a sound that is catchy and memorable while still retaining all of their aggressiveness. That’s not all though. There are touches of classic 80s thrash all over this album that sit very comfortably next to the melody. However, like I said, the melody and the thrash influences are simply a minor part of the sound. The music is still raging d-beat punk for the most part with the outside influences serving to simply enhance the overall sound and not overwhelm it.

Southern Lord has signed the band up for a 3 album deal of which “Damned” is the first so it’s going to be fun to see how Wolfbrigade will follow this album. For now, “Damned” is Wolfbrigade at their very best. This is essential for fans of crust, d-beat and metallic hardcore but I think there’s enough on this album to really appeal to just about anyone who listens to metal.

9

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Southern Lord
  • Website: Wolfbrigade MySpace
  • Band
  • Micke: vocals
  • Jocke: guitars
  • Erik: guitars
  • Johann: bass
  • Dadde: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Feed the Flames
  • 02. Slaves of Induction
  • 03. Road to Dreams
  • 04. On your Knees… In Misery
  • 05. Ride the Steel
  • 06. Hurricane Veins
  • 07. From Beyond
  • 08. Catch 22
  • 09. Damned to Madness
  • 10. Where No One Sleeps
  • 11. Peace of Mind