“Evil Things” from the band We’re Wolves signals a promising debut from a rising star within the metalcore community.
Hype is a dangerous thing. Especially when it’s coming from folks who are paid to promote a “thing”.
There are moments when it is warranted, to be sure. But oftentimes the hype is way too exaggerated, leading to ridiculously lofty expectations for a decent product/service that are simply impossible to attain. And, not infrequently, hype is like putting lipstick on a pig or polishing a turd…a blatant lie that someone is hoping you’ll fall for.
Which is why, in the case of metalcore band We’re Wolves, it was genuinely refreshing to find that the hype by their label’s PR rep was actually on point.
Billed as a dark-comedy horror rock band (which, I agree, is certainly a mouthful), Evil Things by We’re Wolves is arguably one of the best debut albums that I have heard within the metalcore genre.
Not every song is a surefire hit, but there are enough badass tracks to be found on the album Evil Things to satisfy any fan of screamy evil metal.
And make no mistake, this IS screamy evil metal.
Evil Things is loosely based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, though it’s certainly more of a “theme” album versus an actual concept album. Which is a good thing, as concept albums are difficult to pull off and can confound an audience.
But there is no confuzzlement to be found here. Just straightforward metal songs about death, hell, damnation, and everything else that goes along with them.
If I had to draw comparisons to existing bands, I would say that We’re Wolves sounds a little bit like After the Burial by way of Asking Alexandria. And since I have heaps of respect for both of those bands, I could jump into Evil Things with ease.
If you are familiar at all with the metalcore/screamcore style of hard rock, then you’ll know the basic ingredients that are involved in We’re Wolves’ songwriting process; heavy guitars with plenty of power chords, thumping drums, sang chorus vs. screamed/growled verses and refrains, all coming out of the speakers at full-throttle tempos.
No, this isn’t thrash, but it’s certainly heavy and fast.
I’ll be the first to admit that, especially to folks on the outside looking in, quite a bit of metalcore can sound a little samey.
Screams tend to blend together more than singing, and there are only so many chords that can be played fast on a guitar. So, bands have to find other ways to separate themselves from their peers.
We’ve Wolves accomplishes this with some wonderfully diverse guitar playing and some cool record-studio production wizardry behind the scenes. Across many of the songs, if you listen closely, there are electronic flourishes and other sound effects playing just under the instrumentation, adding depth to already expansive tracks.
On top of their music, much ballyhoo was made about their music videos being shot with horror movie aesthetics. And, again, the hype was correct. The videos are fun, energetic, and most certainly evocative of traditional horror movie storytelling. Plus you can tell these gents are having the times of their lives making them.
Speaking of the men behind the music, We’re Wolves is a five-member outfit: AJ Diaferio on vocals, Jeremy Matthew on guitar, Tony Cardillo on guitar, Andrew Salazar on bass, and Jesse Secatello on drums.
Guitars are prominent in the mix, as are the drums. My only complaint with the actual mixing/mastering of this album is that the bass guitar tends to get lost in the mix. As a former bassist myself, I always want the low end of things to get a little more limelight.
As with any album, certain tracks stand out more than others.
On this particular release, the cream of the crop would have to be Wasteland, Wrath, Sell Your Soul, and Pride. They’re all stompers, with killer riffs and pretty catchy choruses.
Sell Your Soul is especially great and differentiates itself from the rest of the songs by feeling very much like a trap-metal offering at times.
In fact, there are moments when it sounds almost like Tom Araya from Slayer doing quasi-rap vocals. The results are just as priceless as that sounds. I really freaking love this song!
Even the nearly-mandatory mid-album instrumental Limbo is quite a cool piece of music, and certainly better than most other metalcore “interlude” tracks.
The only song that really didn’t move me in some way is the album closer Between the Cracks. It’s a slower song, very nearly a ballad. And to be fair, the singing is actually great. Plus, I love some acoustic guitar and male/female vocals playing off of each other. That said, I just couldn’t get into this one. And I even LIKE ballads.
So, will you like this debut album? Is it worth delving into? I’ll put my response bluntly.
If you’re not a fan of this particular brand of metal/hard-rock, then We’re Wolves aren’t going to suddenly make you a believer.
They hew very closely to the established genre requirements while giving themselves a little room to breathe for much-needed originality.
Straight up…some folks just can’t get past the screaming. And I can understand where they’re coming from. Especially since metalcore (screamo, screamcore, whatever you want to label it) is already a divisive genre as it is.
Rising from the ashes of the much-maligned (though in hindsight very necessary) nu-metal movement, metalcore is now ubiquitous in the overarching “metal” scene. No longer niche at all. But also, not “traditionally” metal. Purists will struggle with this one. Despite the increasing popularity of metalcore, it certainly isn’t for everyone.
As for this reviewer, I’m all in. Give me some crunchy guitars, angry vocals, and stomping beats, and I’m one happy camper.
If you’re looking for something new and fun in the ever-growing metalcore genre, then definitely give We’re Wolves a spin. While they can’t dethrone Parkway Drive for me, for a debut album, EVIL THINGS is absolutely worthy of your time.
Their videos are also undeniably worth a watch, and a few of their songs have been added to my favorites on Spotify.