Review Summary: With a slight change in attitude, The Republic of Wolves emerge reinvigorated.
With this release The Republic of Wolves seems to have wandered out of a cold dark forest into a lush, sunny landscape. If Varuna was the bands winter album, this album makes for the perfect spring. The band seems to have matured and intern have created music that is far more catchy, upbeat and accessible.
Right from the beginning with the album opener, Frozen Feet, it is clear that The Republic of Wolves have developed a more breezy and pleasant style. Although some songs such as Arithmetic on the Frontier and Orange Empire carry dark undertones, little remains of the suffocating darkness of previous releases. Mason Maggio sounds as confident as ever crooning over beautifully layered acoustic and electric guitar. His lyrics are just as poetic and interesting as their previous releases.
The choruses of the album are bright, passionate and catchy. A good example of this can be found in the song Stray(s). For lack of a better word, Mason Maggio often sounds lazy during many of the verses. This is not a negative aspect of the album; in fact it is the opposite. He sounds unbelievably comfortable in his role and his lyrics seem to naturally flow from his mouth. This contrast between carefree verses and passionate, gripping choruses creates an amazing high.
Every member of the band works towards a solid and beautifully textured blanket of sound. An amazing strength of the band is their ability to instrumentally fade out and burst back into action. The delicate balance between heavy electric guitar songs and beautiful acoustic songs creates a great variety across the album. The atmosphere created by the cohesion of the guitars and drums creates an upbeat and occasionally tense mood.
The greatest flaw of the album is that many of the songs can blend together. This may seem to contradict my praise of the album being varied. When it comes down to it, many of the songs seem to have similar moods, which can make it hard to differentiate one song from another. Another flaw is the albums lack of a climax. Most songs have their own individual climaxes, but the album as a whole fails to have one stand out climatic moment.
The Republic of Wolves have again created a moody and beautiful release. They have successfully created an album with a new attitude that complements their previous work. Fans of the bands previous work may shy away from the new mood the band has adopted, but those with an open mind will likely love this release just as much as (or more than) their previous albums.