Review Summary: Wolves Like Us would like the listener to sink into the abyss with them, and most will enjoy the descent as much as I did.
Post hardcore as a genre has strayed quite a bit away from its excellent roots in the '90's. Wolves Like Us take that older style of post hardcore and inject new life into it, creating an album that is as instrumentally interesting as it is lyrically hard-hitting. Black Soul Choir
is as bleak as one would expect it to be by its title, but Wolves Like Us interweave giant choruses with the depressive mood that pervades the whole album, creating a juxtaposition that wouldn't ordinarily work so naturally.
The most interesting thing about Black Soul Choir
is how immediately engaging the music is. At first listen, there is plenty of melodic choruses, simplistic guitar sections, and inoffensive lyrics that should propel them into popularity. However, as the listener delves deeper into the album, the dark atmosphere becomes more insistent and debilitating. It could be considered polarizing if it weren't so inherently important in understanding the nature of the album itself; Wolves Like Us are creating music that is dark and depressing without succumbing to the general pitfalls of aggressive bands that attempt to convey these feelings of anger. Thunderous bass and driving drums provide the skeleton of all the songs present on Black Soul Choir
, and the guitar swoops in to simply add atmospheric intricacies. This formula of the songwriting is indeed the most important piece to the puzzle that is Wolves Like Us, as it is what gives the band such a unique identity. It could not be any more prevalent than it is in the song "Thanatos Wins Again", an almost eight minute epic closer that shows off the best aspects of the band. It is slow-burning, taking its time winding through interesting drum fills and spacious (but still massively distorted) guitar lines. The tempo changes are both subtle and exciting, and the most interesting thing about this particular song is that it flows so effortlessly every second of it seems necessary to craft the monolithic atmosphere. Vocalist Larsh Kristensen howls like a man wounded one too many times, and his lyrics on cuts like "I Don't Need to be Forgiven" display a sardonic bitterness that is incredibly easy to relate to. The pain is palpable here, and the authenticity simply can't be questioned.
Dark and dreary, deep and depressing; all of these adjectives can be applied to Wolves Like Us' newest offering without a doubt. Surprisingly, even though that may be the case, there are also a few others that can be indisputably utilized: strength and perseverance. For all of the dark lyricism, there are just as many instances of Kristensen shedding the anger and coming to full-blown realizations, which gives Black Soul Choir
a much more honest feel to it that albums that tackle some of the same subject matter. While the sound of the band isn't hard to get into at all, it also has a very familiar feel to it throughout the whole album. It could be honestly stated that if you don't care for the short opener "Days of Ignorance", then this music may not be for you. It simply doesn't deviate from a central sound; while that is good for the continuity of Black Soul Choir
as a whole, it doesn't allow listeners to casually enjoy several tracks and not others. As it stands, this is deeply personal album that many listeners will be able to relate to while still enjoying the melodic and catchy aspects of the music. Wolves Like Us would like the listener to sink into the abyss with them, and most will enjoy the descent as much as I did.