Wolves at the Gate
Eclipse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Daniel Morgan USER (7 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2019 | 30 replies


Release Date: 07/26/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cutting through the silence

"Christian rock/metal" is a term I actively loathe, at least the way most Christians use it. I think that's because it speaks to the idea that you must separate everything into categories of "Christian" and "secular," which plainly don't exist. This idea seems to have died down in the past decade or so, meaning artists don't need a "Christian" label to appeal to youth group kids, and the nonreligious kids never cared to begin with. With their being less incentive to be overtly Christian, artists that do so are mostly doing it genuinely [War of Ages, Sleeping Giant, etc.]. Of those bands, I feel Wolves At The Gate do it best.

Wolves At The Gate have been steadily evolving over the years from standard metalcore band into something their own. Their 2016 record Types & Shadows had the band move away from their metalcore roots and embrace musical and stylistic ideas from post-hardcore and alt-rock, not entirely dissimilar to that of Thrice and Alexisonfire. With Eclipse, Wolves At The Gate continue on this path and release their most accessible album to date.

As mentioned before, the band kicks their alt rock sound in full drive on this record. While there are still a sizable amount of metalcore breakdowns, the guitars do more with the various types of leads and riffs on tracks like "Response". When the guitars allowed to experiment, it leads to some of the best moments on the record, such as the AFI sounding guitar riff used throughout the track "Enemy." The drums pull their own weight as they crash and cascade throughout tracks like "Drifter," creating a nice backbone for most of the songs. The band also continues to use keyboards to great effect throughout the album like during the opening of "Voice In The Violence." The whole album does a good job of mixing the band's metalcore roots with energized phc and upbeat alt-rock to craft an album that still sounds like Wolves At The Gate, but adds just enough new ideas to keep most of the album sounding fresh.

Steve Cobucci lets his melodic chops shine on this record more than any other, and it fits the album well for the most part. Steve has always had a knack for great hooks all the way back to their debut, but it was on Types & Shadows that he fully put both feet into the pool of huge anthemic choruses. Eclipse has him continue that trend, with nearly every track having a big and bombastic chorus for Steve to show off his cleans. That is not to say that his screams are any less prominent, as he still screams as good as ever and continues to vary up his technique just enough to keep the vocal patterns from being stale aside from a couple tracks.

As is usual with Wolves At The Gate, the lyrics are very blunt about the member's beliefs, so if that is a sticking point for the listener, it is best to make that clear upfront. I myself am usually not predisposed to liking very praise and worship type lyrics, despite being a Christian myself. Even so, I find Wolves At The Gates' lyrics always uplifting in a way. Yes the lyrics are very in your face Christian, but it never feels overly preachy, and it never sounds like Steve is talking down to the listener. Steve just seems like a genuine guy who takes his beliefs very seriously, so they obviously come out through his lyrics. I'd say it like this: I don't always need deep theological treatises in my Christian artists, sometimes I just need an album that says " I'm not perfect, but that's okay, because I'm loved anyway." I think that's the message Steve and the boys in Wolves At The Gate are trying to convey.

Ultimately, I don't feel this is the band's best work. I enjoy the more alt-rock approach, but it can lead to derivative song structures at points. The band might also depend on the choruses too much, which leads to some songs not living up to their potential. Even with those critiques in mind, this album is still a well crafted record that shows the band making a more accessible album without entirely sacrificing their own style. Eclipse does not live up to the standards Types & Shadows set, but it is still a solid record in its own right. It proves that this band is still worth talking about and worthy of the attention they've been getting in recent years.

Recommended Songs:

Voice In The Violence

Enemy

Response



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user ratings (64)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I figured this album actually deserved a review. I had some writers block on this review, and did a lot of editing, so any constructive criticism and corrections are welcome.

calmrose
August 22nd 2019


5168 Comments


wish i dug this more than i do, album falls off pretty hard for me after Response (which is one of the band's best)

Digging: Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was definitely disappointed when I first heard it, especially with how much I adore T&S, but it grew on me with more time. I will admit the stretch from The Sea In Between until the closer is the low point of the record though.

Lucman
August 22nd 2019


3202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Great review. I was disappointed with this one personally and I don't think I'll ever relisten to it but I'm glad to see it getting some love. VxV is an all-time best for me.

Digging: Courtney Swain - Between Blood and Ocean

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah it seems a lot of people were disappointed with the record, but it has definitely grown on me, albeit less than T&S, but that album was so fantastic I'm not surprised they couldn't recapture it. I just wish we got something like Hindsight on this record.

Lucman
August 22nd 2019


3202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Same. Hindsight has become a top 5 Wolves track for me. Grave Digger is up there too. I wish there was something as epic as the last minute of that song on here.

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, but even though it never quite hits those heights, there's still some great moments on here. The choruses on Voice in the Violence and Response are absolutely amazing.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2019


10196 Comments


Good review. Seems you enjoy a straight-forwardness to your writing similar to mine. A few points for either topical discussion or pointers. Separating the two would mean putting down this beer and I'm not gonna do that so...

First and foremost, it makes no sense to preface a genre of music with an ideology, since it has no baring on the artist's sound.


This might just be me, but this seems incredibly "sweepy" and not at all correct. Let me expand; if a band has completely Nazi fews (loose example) and chooses to base all lyrics around that theology/ideology wouldn't that effect both context (and if vocal) sound? For the same reason Eluveitie gets a pass on pagan themes, using both belief and lyric (including that of language --i.e. not just English-- would not Christian vales be used to shape a soundscape. And if so, by how much??

don't need a "christian" label to


Still a name, needs a capitalization.

With no real financial incentive to be overtly Christian, artists that do so are mostly doing it genuinely. Of those bands, I feel Wolves At The Gate do it best.


Why does a financial incentive matter here? Is Jesus paying the bills? What part of this matters to how this album was made/released?

artists that do so are mostly doing it genuinely.


What? I'm not sure where you're going with this. What bands are genuine in this category of Christian metal? A few examples in brackets might help your point here.

More on next post. Bear with me : ]



Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2019


10196 Comments


Wolves At The Gate have been steadily evolving over the years from standard metalcore band into something their own. Their 2016 record Types & Shadows had the band move away from their metalcore roots and embrace musical and stylistic ideas from Thrice and Alexisonfire.


I get where you're going here, but it needs some clarification/extension to help A get to B.
Might get you to look up some basic BB code too. It doesn't help writing so much but for sput[dot]com it helps with album name identification (italics) which is [i ] Album Name[/ i] -- but without the spaces. This will help you with the general flow of your review/pretty things up.

embrace musical and stylistic ideas from Thrice and Alexisonfire.


Looks like you half name-dropping here to be honest. If the sound has moved away from 'metalcore' as you say and moved into ideas from these bands you're actually better off describing the new sounds and using the band-name-drops afterwards.

For example: ...move away from their metalcore roots and into a more post-hardcore, indie sound reminiscent of Thrice and Alexisonfire.

I'm not going to comment on the validity of the bands mentioned here (as I haven't heard this album) but make sure they are airtight/make sense before rattling off random groups.

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Noctre thanks for the tips, I’ll see what I can do to clean up some of those points. Like I said I had some writers block and knew it probably needed some more material so this is helpful.



@ballerclava maybe like decade ago, but from my perspective most people just don’t care if a band is Christian or not. Maybe the fringe fundamentalist types but from my experience they don’t want kids to listen to this type of music regardless of lyrical content. It just feels less relevant today than it used to.

SteakByrnes
August 22nd 2019


15726 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This album was very by the numbers for them, easily my least favorite of theirs

Digging: Speech Patterns - Without a Sound

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2019


10196 Comments


Your third paragraph suffers from a lot of the queries I've played out about the second. Try and steer yourself away from sweeping statements like:

The drums also pull their own weight and are low key some of the catchiest drums of the year.


It's okay to tell us you like them, but it's less okay to say AC/DC's Black Ice is the definitively greatest album of all time. What I'm trying to say is there are a lot of bands out there with a lot of albums this year with a lot of great drumming. If you're going to make a statement like that you need t back it up. Not just vaguely mention it and move on like it's complete truth.

The whole album sounds like a metal-tinged love child of Crisis and Artist In The Ambulance,


Again, describing a sound takes more than name-dropping other bands. You as a reviewer, need to give more for the reader who knows less. Take for example a reader who hasn't heard a Crisis album ever - - they've now got nothing to make comparisons to and have no idea what you're talking about.

Steve Cobucci lets his melodic chops shine on this record more than any other, and it fits the album well for the most part. Steve has always had a knack for great hooks all the way back to their debut, but it was on Types & Shadows that he fully put both feet into the pool of huge anthemic choruses.


Best sentence in this review as far as sound descriptions/score reinforcement goes. Well done.

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel I’ve opened a pit of angst and stupidity with ballerclava that I’m going to regret. Though given his first comment called me a “retard” unironically, I should’ve seen this coming.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2019


10196 Comments


As is usual with Wolves At The Gate, the lyrics will be a dividing point for many. If you're not a fan of overtly religious lyrics, this may be hard to sit through despite the well crafted music around it.


This goes against the points you were making in your first paragraph. You're basically saying the Christian does determine sound.

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Nocte I was more doing that just to preface that the lyrics are upfront and if that is. Not your style that it might be a turnoff. It wasn’t for me, but I thought it fair to be upfront about it.

Danred97
August 22nd 2019


2419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I tried to pretty up the review and more clearly convey some points so hopefully it flows a little better now.

DreamAgain
August 22nd 2019


1075 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

one of my aoty for sure

Pikazilla
August 22nd 2019


3545 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Band is well past their glory days.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2019


10196 Comments


"mindblowingly dumb that whole set of questions is"

Might want to log off now, that's enough internet for you today.

Toondude10
August 22nd 2019


14041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

definitely their weakest album, but still has some solid moments here.



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