Friday, April 06, 2018

EP Review: 'Excommunicate Me' by Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves

Title:  Excommunicate Me (BandCamp)
Artist:  Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, BandCamp, Spotify)

Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves latest EP Excommunicate Me may very well be their best work to date, and that's no easy feat.  The band's last record, 2016's brilliant The Cross and the Switchblade was one of the best records of that year and their best release to that point.  Now two years later, the Winston-Salem, NC quartet comes crashing back with a devastatingly brilliant three-song EP.

Excommunicate Me opens with the poignant "Paradise is Burning," an anthem drawn from the pain of loss and disappointment.
I just don't know
how I should say this but it's been
killing me for years
my heart is buried there
deep inside the land where I shed
blood and sweat and tears 
I still smell the air
and feel the sun
hell it's burning through my veins
I'll make it back somehow
one of these days 
I can't explain
just how it feels when you can't
can't go home again
familiar faces gone
their smiles lost no longer where
they had always been 
paradise is fucking burning
and the hands of time won't stop turning
there was nothing I could do
I tied my hands behind my back
so bid farewell to the grove
it's nothing now but ash 
I just don't know
if I should say this but you've been
killing me for years
no one should die alone
not when they've given you
their blood and sweat and tears
The stark honesty is driven home by singer/guitarist Brian Woodall's guttural and impassioned delivery and the band's thundering pulse.  The EP's title track is next, another driving anthem that deals with that feeling of defeat one gets when they realize the things they were looking to for answers were never really there.
I begged for your embrace
I wished and wanted to curse you to your face
but my patience is long gone
I've got nothing left to say
and my lungs are numb
from screaming out your name 
I will never say another prayer again 
answers never come
I'm just another one of your long forgotten sons
take away the pain
or take me as I am
but my eyes are tired
and I've wept all I can 
all I wanted was a sign of life
some proof that you might care
have all my pleas and all my desperate cries
just fallen on deaf ears or are you even there
The EP closes out with an acoustic version of the song "Black Drink Singer" which originally appeared on 2014's Subtle Serpents.  The softer take reveals a new level of vulnerability and intensity to the song and showcases how the band has grown in the last four years.

While the themes on Excommunicate Me tend to land on the dark side of things and are obviously born out of a frustration with the state of the world, the record never falls into despair.  The darkness of the words is juxtaposed by the buoyancy and exhilaration that the music evokes.  There is a balance, a yin and yang to this record that not only makes it work but makes it truly something special.

Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves live in that same space as bands like Nothington, Red City Radio, and post No Division Hot Water Music, taking gruff vocals and mixing them with delicious hooks and harmonies, big choruses, giant riffs, hardcore intensity, and pop sensibilities creating a sound that is larger than life and made to fill the largest of arenas.  This is truly great punk...no this is truly great rock 'n' roll music.  No limitations, no filters, no b.s., this is simply some of the best rock 'n' roll going today.  WOOOOO!!!




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