“Hang on, didn’t Wolfheart only just release a new album?” a friend of mine mentioned to me recently and they were right. The titans of winter metal did only just release Tyhjyys last year and at the same time have been exceptionally busy touring this past year. New Wolfheart is never a bad thing though, so I eagerly pressed play and awaited the coming of the wolves…
Opening the album, “Everlasting Fall” is the longest song Wolfheart to date. It is also one of my favourites due to it having so many different sections and timbres throughout. The riff at 2:24 is simply mesmerising and is the sort of riff you could hear in a Viking film before the warriors charge into battle. And “Breakwater” is as good a call to battle as any. The first single off the album with an excellent video, it is sure to get the pits going at shows with its relentless non-stop speed.
Then there’s “The Saw”. I don’t blame you if you couldn’t watch the video for this song, it’s a little gruesome. Musically, though, it is not too dissimilar to a track you might find on Winterborn or even Shadow World for that matter. Slower paced than the more modern tracks with the traditional down-tuned heavy riffing are infectious and I found it very difficult not to headbang along to it. Kicking the pace back up, “Forge With Fire” reminds me a bit of “World on Fire” from the previous album with its tempo changes and piano melodies overlaying the guitar parts. Some might argue that the two tracks are a little too similar, but for me there is enough variance in the music to argue against that.
“Defender” is something altogether different from the rest of the album. Featuring a lot of synth strings, mid-paced tremolo picking and a “less is more” approach, the track is another headbanger and one of my favourites on the album for being that bit different. Drummer Joonas then decides to go super Saiyan on “Warfare” and sets the whole pace for the track. Yet despite it being the fastest track on the album, it is the second longest track on the album. Dropping down to an acoustic guitar part reminiscent of the Before the Dawn days, it is again one of my favourite tracks on the album. Some clean vocals from bassist Lauri would have just been the icing on the cake for that part though in my opinion.
Rounding the album out, “Valkyrie” takes the word syncopated and runs with it. With everything locking into the beat of the kick drums, you could almost call it a melo-death version of Fear Factory. My one complaint with this track is ending it on an imperfect cadence. Ending it on a perfect cadence would have ended it nicely but ending the song on that note makes the listener think more is coming when it isn’t. That is just me being picky though and aside from that, it is a killer track.
I’m finding it very difficult to actually say what I think of this album. Wolfheart’s albums have always had a special place in my listening library but this album is different. It is still a Wolfheart album but it is so much more. The band, in taking some more risks and trying new things, have escaped the melo-death bubble and have carved themselves their own little niche. And for that, as I did last year, I’m going to have to call this my album of the year. Sure there are things which I think might work differently. Everything just works and as I’ve mentioned before, that riff at 2:24 in “Everlasting Fall” is just incredible.
Rating: Album of the year.
Constellations Of The Black Light is released on 28th October via Napalm Records.