Sitting securely between post-hardcore and alternative rock, and employing both in their strong sound, UK band Raised As Wolves is one of those forces you feel is moving steadily to great things, especially if you take their new EP An Ocean On Fire as evidence. A five track treat of varied and maturely crafted sounds, the release moves on from their debut to show a band unafraid to stretch themselves and their imagination whilst equally suggesting there is still plenty more to come.
The Huddersfield based band formed in late 2011 whilst its members were at University in the market town. Their self-titled debut EP drew impressed and rich reactions upon release the following year whilst a UK tour and shows with the likes of Marmozets, Exit_International, Steak Number Eight, Mr Shiraz, Elvis Jackson and many more has only enhanced their status within the UK underground. New EP, An Ocean On Fire moves on from their earlier sound with a richer melodic and textured embrace whilst still fuelling it with the aggression and impacting energy the band has become renowned for.
The quintet of vocalist Jezza Bruce, guitarists James Hill and Tom Blakemore, bassist Rob Hill, and drummer Paul Davies begin the release with 25/9/11, an evocative instrumental immersing the ear in resourceful strings, provocative keys, and swirling voices within a musty and slightly oppressive ambience. A warm beauty emerges from the soak as the guitar casts a reflective presence upon the senses drawing the weave around it to brew up a fuller intensity too. It is a tempting piece which in many ways gives little descript of what is too come but fluidly and perfectly leads into the following Conversations. The second track instantly grazes the ear with feisty swipes of guitar and commanding rhythms from Davies. From this striking start a breath is taken before the band forges all the brewing aspects of the song into a provocative and challenging pleasure with the vocals of Bruce backed just as strongly by those of James Hill. Abrasive and simultaneously deeply tempting, the track is a blaze of invention and skill, its sound caustic yet seductive from songwriting that is accomplished and imaginative, with the constant additives and unpredictable twists the biggest joy in the enthralling thumping storm.
It’s In Our Blood makes an explosive entrance, gripping attention and ear before settling into a restrained stance as the vocals and guitars shape another emotive but energetic beckoning. As its predecessor there is intent to raise the pulse rate of song and listener, which it does with the guitars creating niggling riffs and falling shards of sonic flame to enslave the appetite whilst the vocals scorch the surface of the ear with a mix of expressive clean and antagonistic punk spawn squalls. It is a thrilling premise and collision with emotions which though arguably less inventive than the previous tracks does not short change on satisfaction and passion.
Next up Aggressive Gentlemen, Not Reckless starts with a contagious punk tempting which has a Bad Religion feel to its anthemic narrative. There is little the passions can do to resist as the track develops into the best song on the release, excellent vocals leading a magnetic stretch of crisp rhythms, scurrying riffs, and a melodic enterprise caged in a sonic irresistibility. The guitar invention of Hill and Blakemore is exceptional whilst the bass of Rob Hill prowls with the menace all fires and songs need, but it is fair to say every part of the song from its conception to delivery is a scintillating proposition.
The closing Reflections wraps itself in the deepest seated emotional reflection, Bruce a quiet but potent impact within again hued rich guitar craft and an enveloping ambience veined by initial bursts of intensity leading to a greater furnace of thought provoking aural stimulants. The song is a smouldering triumph which impresses further with every listen, more of its heart and depth revealed each time. It concludes an excellent release from a band that has the instinct and skill to create songs which make an instantly accessible call whilst containing levels and colours that bloom and lead to greater rewards across numerous meetings. Raised as Wolves is certainly a band to watch very closely here on in.
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