Despite a halfway re-staffed line-up, Chicago blackened death metal band Blood of the Wolf retain their notable Marduk and Angelcorpse influenced sound on their second full-length. Mike Koniglio’s distinctly 00’s Nergal-like grunted rasp and ‘Plague Angel’/’World Funeral’ style riffing haven’t skipped a beat since 2015’s first chapter ‘I: The Law of Retaliation’. The only major changes found on ‘II: Campaign of Extermination’ come in the form of a more accurate drummer whose performance is both tighter and louder than previous. It is a strong continuation of the band’s sound and Koniglio’s vision, though I occasionally found it harder to distinguish between individual songs compared to the previous album.
Blood of the Wolf’s sound takes me back to the early millennium when bands like Hate Eternal, Behemoth and Krisiun were hot-trotters that couldn’t blast out albums fast enough to keep up with their imitators and fellow brutal death metal innovators. That isn’t to say their sound hails from that era exclusively, only that it opened a lot of forward thinking extreme metal bands like Marduk, Vader and Dark Funeral to some crazy brutal death metal drumming ideas. ‘II: Campaign of Extermination’ features a style of riffing that sort of recalls ‘Rom 5:12’ and that black metal tinge to it that calls back to classic Swedish black/death in a subtle way. The relatively mid-paced lurch of “Benedito Ultonis” makes it my favorite song on here and serves as the first of three peak tracks on the album. The true strength of the guitar work on the album is felt within sections where the drums take a break. For example about 2 minutes into stand-out ripper “Erupting Volcanic Wrath” the drums shift gears and slow up just long enough to punctuate the song with some very worthy riffing.
Endless comparisons aside, if you’re a fan of anything black/death from Azarath to Zyklon these guys are worth checking out. Blood of the Wolf are the real deal with a strong professional recording, a razor sharp ear for riffing heaviness, and a well developed sound. It might initially appeal more as piecemeal listening unless you’re deeply initiated with these sorts of ‘variations on a theme’ type of extreme metal albums that blur together into one 35 minute storm of death metal. In fact it is such a storm I ended up a little disoriented by it’s tendency to bleed together outside of the melodic black metal-esque leads. It isn’t so much a knock but a testament to their influences, who mystify me similarly. Recommended for fans of early 00’s Polish death metal classics, and that same era of Marduk induced chaos who are looking for the next generation beyond.
|Released||April 7, 2018|
|BUY/PREVIEW on their Bandcamp!||Follow Blood of the Wolf on Facebook|
Death Metal, Black Metal
Steel reinforced coffins. 3.5/5.0
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