When We Were Wolves – Heartless

When We Were Wolves

At the end of our review of the deeply pleasing The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP from Welsh post hardcore band When We Were Wolves, we added that this was “still a band in the making”. Now the Bridgend quintet unleash its successor in the stunning shape of Heartless to show that they are a creative tempest which has arrived at its first pinnacle whilst still offering the potential of even greater things to come. The five track fury of invention and intensity is a startling encounter exploring a broader and more mature landscape than its predecessor yet still passionately driven by the band’s now distinctive and imaginative post hardcore intent.

Formed in 2011, When We Were Wolves has built a rich reputation for their live presence, which has seen them play alongside the likes of Bury Tomorrow, The Blackout, Devil Sold His Soul, Malefice, Born Of Osiris, Exit Ten, Betraying The Martyrs, Martyr Defiled, and Carcer City. Add that to the success of The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same and it is fair to say that anticipation for its successor was ripe and full, a hunger swiftly sufficed as Heartless rampages through the ears.

Opening track Dying On The Inside straight away lays a feisty glaze of riffs over ears, their lure fusing a punk and metal attraction before the rampaging beats of drummer Josh Baker uncage their full weight upon the sonic turbulence. The bass of Matt Shaw prowls the gripping brawl of sound with relish whilst vocalist Mitch Bock roars with emotion and animosity. Riffs and grooves spill equal animosity through the craft and invention of guitarists Steve French and Rhod Evans too, their intensive proposal alone creating a riveting baiting of thoughts and emotions within the song. It is a stunning start to the EP, the track twisting and embracing the senses with enthralling imagination whilst further inescapable temptation is expelled through the outstanding and impressive vocal delivery of Bock. Like a collision between While She Sleeps and Slipknot with a twist of Cancer Bats, the song is an irresistible contagion.

Coating ears in an initial melodic yet fiery embrace, the next up The Devil You Know soon twists into a ferocious beast of vocal hostility and sonic antagonism. It is a demanding and compelling start but taken to another level as Bock PromoImageunveils more of his superb clean and melody rich vocals which had already enhanced its predecessor. Equipped and skilled to merge both extremes, he proves himself on Heartless to be one of the more exciting frontmen around. An essence of Dead Til Friday prompts thoughts towards the song but again a mere whisper to a sound undeniably belonging to When We Were Wolves. Predatory and seductive, it is a riveting adventure matched immediately by the voracious Blind. A sonic haze starts it off before grooves come out of the woodwork with insidious intent as pounding rhythms bring their equally enslaving thunderous textures. Vocals also explode with wide variety and unbridled passion across the destructive maelstrom smothering the senses. It is an exceptional savagery with a lingering spite ensuring it is one of the pinnacles of the release.

The following Confession takes its spark from the previous track, staggered riffs and venomous grooves an intensive and welcome intrusion as rhythms cast their heavyweight provocation. There is no respite from the vocals either initially, the fighting tones of Bock showing no mercy until his seamless slip into the equally impacting clean and velvet delivery he possesses. The encounter is a masterfully invigorating tempest which like most of the songs, perfectly sculpts its relatively brief length for the most dramatic impact before making way for the closing title track. Lighter in its presence in comparison to the last couple of tracks, Heartless is a radiantly emotive song, a melodically fired croon of sonic enterprise and vocal intensity which steals attention and ardour with Bock again exceptional though well-matched by the skilled sonic and rugged rhythmic charm of the rest of the band.

The Heartless EP is a major triumph for When We Were Wolves and the British post hardcore scene. The Welsh band has not only found its own voice but set out a new vat of promise and invention to inspire even greater anticipation for their next offerings.

The Heartless EP is available digitally through all stores on Monday 22nd September.

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RingMaster 21/09/2014

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When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP

When We Were Wolves Promo shot

Post hardcore bands and releases came thick and fast in 2012 with the momentum seemingly going to continue into this year. There was a strong and overall impressive depth to the sounds which stepped forward if many lacked that something to set them apart from the rest. Initially that was also the thought when allowing the debut EP from Welsh band When We Were Wolves to unleash its aggression and expressive heart on the senses. That notion was soon slapped into place though especially by the ferociously impressive central core of the release. It is fair to say When We Were Wolves is still determining a unique sound of its own but certainly from the clutch of earnest and passionate tracks making up the release the Bridgend quintet have it in hand.

Formed in mid-2011, the band has built up a loyal and eager following across South Wales and into England with their explosive live shows. To date they have impressively shared stages with the likes of Bury Tomorrow, Exit Ten, Pay No Respect, Martyr Defiled and Carcer City, as well as headlining their own riotous assaults on audiences. The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same is about to wake up the rest of the UK with intense and well thought out songs which suggest and at times proves that post hardcore can be pleasingly adventurous and contagious.

All Good People Must Come To An End is an intriguing start to the release which did leave some uncertainty in its wake. The When We Were Wolves Cover Artworkheartfelt vocals of Mitch Bock are a caustic and compelling squall over an emotive endeavour from the rest of the band. It is a brief track which asks questions and leaves thoughts open if a little undecided of whether the EP would emerge as something special or another similarly gaited encounter as from many other genre bands. The answer is soon proven to be the former as firstly Under The Water thunders into view. Big grasping riffs assault the ear with scything sonics and thumping rhythms adding their support whilst an expanse of acidic vocal cries blisters the senses. It is not exactly ground breaking but throughout prods and enthrals especially with the excellent clean vocals of Bock adding emotive weight to the inventive guitar work of Steve French and Rhod Evans. The song goes where you expect it too but still offers a riveting and fully satisfied experience through its fresh and keen encounter.

It is with the following pair of songs though that the band stakes its claim as possibly being something special in the making. This Is Where We Belong and Your Sick Fantasy are exceptional, two tracks which leave one drooling at the promise and imaginative confrontations before the senses. The first seizes the ear with predatory riffs which beckon rather than stalk and the again excellent and overwhelming rhythms of drummer Josh Baker, his demanding beats inescapable and ably supported by the hungry bass lines of Ben Taylor. As the vocals rub thoughts raw the track twists and turns into numerous asides and shadows, all inventive and ardour inciting. Each member of the band is a fiery or intimidating aspect coming together for a furnace of intensity and creativity. There are moments which are familiar in the song, as in all tracks to be honest, but When We Were Wolves deliver them and their unique imaginative moments with a relish and fire very few of the other emerging bands accomplish. The second of the two snarls and gnaws with intensity and a controlling presence which leads one into the lyrical and passionate heart of the track. It drags you willingly through dark distant corners and in the face challenges which scorch and captivate. Tough arguably lacking definition at times the song is an immense and unforgiving treat which only marks the band further as ones to watch.

The release closes with Hounds which features Continents vocalist Phil Cross. The track is another raging affair with further imagination coming through the excellent key intro and building climaxes of energy and passion throughout. It is a great mix of aggression and intrusive melodic breaths which without firing up the same flames as the previous two songs leaves one a satisfied and willing recruit to it and the band’s enterprise.

When We Were Wolves is still a band in the making but as The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP shows, it is also group of young musicians who are moving in the right impressive direction.

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RingMaster 14/01/2013

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