Review Summary: A fresh debut album that is sure to bring that energetic, yet mature sound to the table.
Back in 2011, band members Stephen (clean vocals/guitar), Ryan (Drums), Colin (screamed vocals), Jeremy (lead guitar), and Ben (bass) of Wolves at the Gate released their debut EP, We are the Ones. The EP soon gave them a loyal starting fanbase, which resulted in heavy touring for the band. Their drummer and screamer later quit the band, and that's where the two new members come in. Nick Detty, their new screamer and Ben Millhouse, their new drummer would join Wolves at the Gate to form Captors.
Now we are here, Captors is the band's debut album, and it is one heck of an LP. Captors really shows how the band has matured in such a short time.
The First track, "The Harvest" starts the album off quick with march like anthem to get you warmed up and intense vocals from Nick, and that is one key that makes this album shine, Nick's vocals. Nick is very young (19) and gives the energetic and craziness the album needs without letting it get too out of control, which may be one con of the album, he can be a tad too noticeable. The Track "Awaken" I believe showcases his talent the most. The beginning really lets him shine, and he may be one of the greatest screamers I've heard, especially for his age. Him and Stephen contrast one another throughout the album and blend well together. Stephen's vocals are mainly heard in the choruses of the songs, but he still pops up here and there to keep the album moving. A lot of songs on the LP are soft and feature acoustic guitar, that is where Stephen is considered the main vocalist. Both vocalists maintain their parts in the album extremely well.
The instrumental of this album is magnificent. The rhythm and lead guitars play a great role in every track. I feel the rhythm guitar sometimes overshadows Jeremy's lead guitar just a little. I wish he showed up a little more with that catchy riff, that your never going to forget. I believe Jeremy's lead guitar really shines in the track, "Through the Night." If you're looking for that groovy feel from Jeremy, "Morning Star" presents this nicely. His guitar playing features a smooth crisp feel that blends in easily. Ben Summers' bass has gone up a level as well. It is more groovy and can be heard a little bit better than the EP. He really went all out with getting better equipment to play a bigger part. Try turning on bass boost to see exactly what I mean. Now we get to the drums. Ben Millhouse drums I say play the biggest part in the album. They really help keep the album in motion and guide it, they are very well heard and throughout the plays of this album, I have heard few to none mistakes with the drums. Altogether, the instrumental of the very last track, "Man of Sorrows" is relaxing and I think stands out the most in the record, they all do their part that gives a mellow vibe going through your head to end it. Another aspect that I like is the variety of the songs, throughout the record it goes Loud/Violent, to Soft and Mellow, then back to Loud/Violent, back and forth, etc.
As you may know, Wolves at the Gate are serious when it comes to Christianity. They are a Christian band and they really shows their passion for Christ in the lyrics. If you read the lyrics in songs like "Awaken" and "Slaves" they are quite emotional and reach out to you. These guys did a good job with the lyrics. In their EP, the lyrics seemed to form in a story like structure. Now they are pretty independent. You listen to one song, and even though they are around the same topic, you never know what it will be exactly about.
Ending this review up, Wolves at the Gate do an excellent job for their debut album. They have a great mixture and variety of hardcore energy and soft, acoustic, melodic takes. Some songs in the LP seem to get a tad lost and a few may be forgettable, but all around it is a good listen.
Recommended Tracks -
Man of Sorrows
Step out to the Water