ALPHAWOLVES
Refuge


4.5
superb

Review

by LoLifant USER (5 Reviews)
March 18th, 2019 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A pack of wolves to rip apart the alt-rock scene.

Quite often, bands successively evolve their musical style with each release. Sometimes the change is so drastic, that it leaves long time fans disappointed or even furious. An alternative to this procedure, if a profound alteration in future outputs is already planned, would be replacing the band name so everyone can understand the groups desire for something new and won't be surprised with the sudden change of sound. That's exactly what italian post-hardcore act formerly known as Hopes Die Last did. The new style: alternative rock. The new name: Alphawolves. It was the perfect decision for them to make.

Two years after the first single, Alphawolves' debut album Refuge finally arrives. Lasting 41 minutes, it presents itself with 10 pleasently varied tracks. From the apocalyptic opener End in Fire, to the punching tunes of Early Grey, an almost psychedelic expierence in Silverscreen or the oddly endearing robot-vocals of The Strawberry Place, there's not a moment of boredom inducing repitition to be found throughout all 10 tracks. Likewise, lyrical themes are broad, offering general views of society ("End in Fire"), abstract metaphors ("Silverscreen") or personal stories ("Awake"). Everything is held together by different aspects of the record, making it a consistent as well as compelling trip from start to finish.

First, the unique vocals of singer and guitarist Daniele Tofani have to be mentioned. To a certain extent, they can be described as a mixture between the smoothness of Thirty Seconds To Mars' Jared Leto and the roughness of Bring Me The Horizon's Oliver Sykes. Particularly the latter part sounds unusual at first, but becomes all the more thrilling eventually. Tofani is able to slide fluently from one end to the other, even switching his vocal appearance within songs ("Bayonets") or delivering a combination of both ("Wolf Like Me"). While already intriguing when performing with his lower clean range ("Silverscreen"), his ability's outstanding nature becomes truly apparent in moments like the powerful chorus of Early Grey, where everything just culminates into an emotional punch, almost challenging contemporaries as genre veteran Jesse Lacey.

Another tying factor is the intelligent use of electronic effects, which doesn't submit itself to the ongoing trend of simply packing all sorts of trickery into one song and believing that's innovative. The integration of mostly carillon- and piano-like sounds are always complementary, never overbearing. Details like the single synth-note between guitar chords in the End in Fire intro turn something rather ordinary into a memorable melody. Throughout the whole album, similar additions create an ultimately distinctive identitiy to the bands musical style. At the same time, instead of completely drowning them, a crisp production provides the instruments with enough room to breathe, leading to some rough riffage from the guitars here and there, while also giving Tofanis raw voice the opportunity to shine.

If there's something to criticize, then it might be the occassional moments where it feels like a song, or even a section of it, ends abruptly. Be it the subjectively perceived lack of just one more word at the end of Deadlight, the futile wait for some final vocals in the album finisher Dancers, or the general limitation to only two instead of the usual three refrains in some songs. But this might also lead to them feeling more powerful when they eventually appear. And sometimes, the intention could've been to let the music speak for itself instead of inserting a last portion of vocals. Nevertheless, it's something that might catch one's attention.

In any way, Refuge is a fulminant debut from a band that made the right choice to allow themselves a new start and thereby managed to introduce an excitingly fresh sound to the alternative rock scene.


user ratings (4)
Chart.
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
LoLifant
March 17th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Check out "Bayonets" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmZUPbcNee8 (video is a 30STM ripoff but who cares)



I know this review probably isn't that good because I rarely write one and english isn't my first language and I was tired when writing it but damnit FEATURE THIS THING anyway because the album absolutely deserves more publicity!



And of course I'm happy to receive criticism. (I already know the review is a bit too long)

LoLifant
March 17th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I will bump this thread until 2020 if necessary. Album needs to be heard so the band continues to make awesome music.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 17th 2019


15530 Comments


I appreciate the passion on promoting them, will check it and read the review later dude.

Digging: Otoboke Beaver - Itekoma Hits

Snake.
March 17th 2019


21586 Comments


"they can be described as a mixture between the smoothness of Thirty Seconds To Mars' Jared Leto and the roughness of Bring Me The Horizon's Oliver Sykes"

can i 1 this now

Ecnalzen
March 17th 2019


8253 Comments


Deadlight is a pretty good song.

Not sure I hear either of those vocalists in here, but guy is not too shabby at the singing. I like the grit he can put on it, too.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2019


15530 Comments


The only thing I could find was "Walk Alone". It's an ok listen, I mean, they are not bad but they sound sort of... obsolete? I will check the rest of the album (if they put it up for streaming)

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It‘s on Spotify and I think someone uploaded all the songs on YouTube as well. Also check at least two or three songs, since they are pretty varied. Early Grey is one of my favourites.



And yeah obviously his voice is special and doesn‘t sound exactly like Sykes & Leto. But the roughness in songs like Awake and his lower clean vocals on Silverscreen kinda reminded me of them. In case of the Leto comparison I‘m particularly talking about the lower range vocals, very prominent on 30STM‘s debut, not the high range on songs like Kings & Queens.



TheMightyScoop
March 18th 2019


1086 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

ya this album blows.

Digging: Karp - Self Titled LP

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can‘t take people serious when they rate 5 (probably more but it only shows the last 6 ratings on your profile) albums a day.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2019


15530 Comments


I'm out then lol

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah many folks do that here and I don’t get it. Like in general, irrespectively from this record here. So many albums only enfold their quality only after several spins and I kinda doubt someone who rates so many of them each day is able to listen to each more than once, if he even listens through whole thing at all. Just my general opinion, I can totally see why people wouldn‘t like this one. The vocals can be deterring if you can‘t get used to them. Although I have the feeling that TheMightyScoop just doesn‘t give a shit lol

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2019


15530 Comments


I mean, I listen to a lot of music, yes. Rare is the occasion that I listen to a new album more than twice on first listen. If I like it I come back to it, several times, on several days, like it's the most normal thing to do. But putting yourself through an album that didn't make a good first impression is just a waste of time imo. Rate it and move on.

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When I first listened to The Hotelier‘s „Home Like NoPlace Is There“, it sounded average at best. After a few more listens and digging deeper into the lyrics and stuff, it eventually clicked and I have it at 4.5 now. I mean, yeah, if the first impression is like totally garbage, I‘d maybe listen to it one more time to at least confirm it. But that would mean it has major flaws like shitty production or everything sounding the same or having absolutely unbearable vocals etc..

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2019


15530 Comments


I totally get what you mean dude and you are right when you say that smth that sounds ok(ish) can be a grower, it happens all the time. But there's also the possibility that said record is just not for you from the get go.

Like I said, I don't think this is terrible, they are not doing something extraordinary but they sound good. I cringed a little with the whole "we are lone wolves" thing but I guess that's a different story for a different time. I'll get on the rest of tracks tomorrow.

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hope you do since Walk Alone is probably my least fav of them. It's an okay song and I like that the vocals in the refrain are sort of multilayered because the lyrics say "we", but believe me if I say there are some bangers waiting for you. Early Grey, Bayonets, Deadlight, Silverscreen, to name some.

Snake.
March 18th 2019


21586 Comments


“I can‘t take people serious when they rate 5 (probably more but it only shows the last 6 ratings on your profile) albums a day.“

oh hi deathbat

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what's a deathbat



MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2019


8941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review isn't too bad. Certainly gives this a lot of praise. The conclusion feels like it was just sorta slapped on, but other than that it was a fine read. If nothing else I'm definitely intrigued by this.

LoLifant
March 18th 2019


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I noticed it got way too long and wanted to end it. I guess the 2nd paragraph would‘ve worked better as a conclusion. Thanks for the feedback.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2019


8941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't find the length an issue at all, on the contrary. If the content is quality then a few more sentences/paragraphs won't be a concern or even noticeable.



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