Review Summary: This is some gloomy stuff.
Sorrow, thy name is Wolverine.
They can't all be sunny days and we can't always have a smile on our face. Wolverine's "Still" is the perfect album for such days. The album is dark, yearnful, and sans agression. Sound wise, you can think of Wolverine's style as being similar to morose titans Katatonia, Anathema, or even Rapture. For whatever reason though, I find Wolverine's sound to be much more sombre than the above mentioned bands.
For those who may only know the band through their debut album "The Window Purpose," it should be known that the band has changed their sound remarkably since then. Starting as a doomish Death Metal act, the band has dived head first into Depressive Rock territory (again, a la Katatonia/Anathema,) though their overall sound has just a bit more balls than the above bands.
The album begins with the mid paced "A House of Plague." The yearnful atmosphere is built from the first note. It takes you away into the band's colourless world. The atmosphere is maintained through most of the album, with only a few fumbles here and there on the later half of the album,but I'll get into that in the later half of my review.
"Still" features something that not many others in this genre of music features-diversity. "A House of Plague" is a mid-paced ode to loneliness. "Bleeding" follows suit. The two following tracks, "A Taste of Sand," and "Nothing More" are, due to the immense atmosphere and brilliant lyrics, some of the gloomiest pieces of music I have ever heard. "Nothing More" bears some sort of explanation. The song itself makes minimal use of the band and utilizes only vocals and keyboard. The minimalism is put to good use, making the vocals and lyrics hit you where it counts-the heart. Slow and sombre, it can be said that the track is boring by some;however, for Doom freaks like myself, it is a highlight on "Still." Actually, during listenings of this album, I usually skip the track. Don't mistake me, it's not because it's unenjoyable, but rather, it just depresses me too much. I use the term "depress" in its' literal sense, in that it actually makes me depressed.
We then move along into my favourite track, "Sleepy Town." The song begins with a simple and danceable beat. Hushed vocals soon come in and they take us away into a grey and foggy sleepy town. A lonely man walking through the empty strees. It also generates images of a blank and empty white room. Flaminco guitar is added during the second half of the track which adds strength to the imagery. The melody is beautiful and catchy at the same time. Queue the guitar solo. Somehow, despie being quite a mellow track, it's oppressive and claustrophobic. Easily, my favourite piece.
Sadly, the worst track proceeds. "Liar on the Mount" is garbage to me. I hate it! It's the heaviest track on the album, but the song is clumsily wtitten and the lyrics are laughable at best. I skip it everytime. What more needs to be said? Stick to the sombre stuff dudes.
At least, the final three tracks end the album on a high note. "Hiding," is a beauiful and gentle track, describing all the personas we wear everyday. "This Cold Heart of Mine" is a bit fast paced and the most modern sounding song on the album. It isn't great but it doesn't hurt the album either. "And She Slowly Dies" is a powerful and fitting end to the album with a great climax and hard-hitting vocals.
"Still" also features some progressive tendencies. Those who are looking for technically proficient material may also find something to like here, though the album is about atmosphere more than anything else.
Of course, there are some flaws. As mentioned, "Liar on the Mount" is horrible and some of the lyrics are poorly written. "And She Slowly Dies" is one example, featuring lyrics such as:
"If I could touch you,
If I could heal your bleeding wounds
"I should?" Whatvever. Maybe I'm just hearing them wrong.
Other than that, this is a great album. Fans of later day Katatonia and Anathema would do well to check out Wolverine. Anyone into the Depressive Rock scene, Prog, or even Romantic Doom Metal should also find something to like here.
Get it! Just pretend that "Liar on the Mount" doesn't exist. Now, THAT'S sad!