With their more turbulent history seemingly behind them, Melbourne’s Alpha Wolf have ascended to be part of a newer Australian milieu of no-nonsense, hard-hitting bands, and their second album, ‘A Quiet Place To Die’, is a powerful statement.
With the title-track and opener, we have a tense build-up into the immediate release of meaty, extremely satisfying low-end riffs. The groove is strong and continues all the way through. ‘Creep’ is a little faster with some revealing lyrical themes, and Lochie Keogh‘s vocals have noticeable anger and frailty, which is certainly welcome.
‘Golden Fate; Isolate’ has got even more of their signature groove, and their melding of nu-metal, metalcore, and deathcore proves to be a winning combination. The call-and-response vocals also work a treat for ‘Akudama’, a track which also has an almighty mosh call and breakdown.
‘Rot In Pieces’ shows that they’re adept at adding some tension to their sound too, and ‘Bleed 4 You’ does this tenfold, also helped by the guest vocal appearance of Lizi Blanco (The Beautiful Moment) to add even more layers of depth. ‘Ultra Violet Violence’ is also a highlight which showcases their strength on the hook front.
The palpable anger and fury is what the record mainly deals in, and they do it very well indeed. Whilst ‘A Quiet Place To Die’ is largely on the one-dimensional side of things, there’s no questioning that Alpha Wolf excel in their modus operandi. ‘The Mind Bends To A Will Of Its Own’ is also a song that features thick, weighty guitar riffs, and is one of the best immediate head bangers on an album that is largely full of them.
That being said, final song ‘Don’t Ask’ is also the most striking, and could also be used as a template for the future. We have the most gut-spilling, vulnerable lyrical passages from Keogh as well, and the build-up makes for an invigorating finish. It’s also refreshing to hear palpable emotion in a genre where it can sometimes be eschewed for brute force, or to re-tread a formula.
Expanding on songs like ‘Bleed 4 You’ will certainly help them to grow and improve on what’s already a very solid foundation. There’s also some welcome similarities to British acts like Loathe and Employed To Serve that appear in places across the album, too.
‘A Quiet Place To Die’ should propel Alpha Wolf to greater heights, especially when the appetite for bands like them only seems to be growing, and they’ve clearly got plenty more to offer in the future.