After an explosive burst onto the scene out of nowhere with their cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie which has sparked over fifty-nine million views worldwide through the power of YouTube, Bad Wolves have been more than just the newest wrinkle and catalyst in the metal and rock industry. Having been around since last year, they’ve already become an illustrious brand across the globe and have received many accolades for their breakout studio performance and have been touring extensively ever since. Three months after the release of their Zombie music video, Bad Wolves have supplied one hell of a congregation between themselves and the rest of the world in the form of a debut full-length record under the moniker; “Disobey”.
Bad Wolves break the ice with what would be equivalent to Thor’s Mjolnir as an opener with Officer Down without any forewarning of what’s to be expected from the quintet. Here, the track is furnished with a lot of djent and metalcore components that insistently bellow throughout the process. In this, Tommy Vext addresses the issue with the violence and hostility towards police officers doing their job, and the repetitively pugnacious nature of them attacking innocent lives of African-Americans. The follow-up Learn to Live approaches the topic of what seems to be about the daily struggles of the working class and not living life to its full extent, with a score that sounds like an emulsion of Periphery and Killswitch Engage in a very melodic structure.
No Masters meets a slower, almost nu-alternative metal style that’s accompanied by substantially bulky tones and riffs coming from Doc Coyle, Chris Cain and Kyle Konkiel, who absolutely throw the aggressiveness into overdrive. And of course, we’re met with Zombie, which has undoubtedly overthrown Disturbed’s The Sound of Silence as the best metal cover of the decade. Vext’s intense and divine range takes the song to levels that would indubitably, make the late Dolores O’Riordan so, very proud. It doesn’t take much for Bad Wolves to rev it up soon after a remarkable ballad, as Run For Your Life features fast-paced double-kicking and hulk-like alternate picking from the band. Vext then pours his heart out on Remember When, focusing on his convicted twin brother whose life had been tampered with substance abuse. As it progresses, Remember When gets even more lyrically distressing and musically too, as Vext talks about the dramatic change he sees in his brother as the years went by
Better the Devil is channelled by a bit of Mudvayne, most especially within the chorus, along with a somewhat polyrhythmic take on the verses, with Vext tossing between cleans and rapidly-abrasive methods to his lyrics. With an instant and gritty start to the track, Jesus Slaves carries a significant amount of strength to its production and it’s mixing on the strings, while the following song Hear Me Now traces the LP back to its ballad persona with a beautiful duet between Vext and Los Angeles-based rock soloist Diamante, which feels very much like a twenty-first century Close My Eyes Forever.
Truth or Dare features methods that are almost parallel to that of Tesseract, but in a non-atmospheric chic and more on the coarse and assertive nature in the song. The Conversation almost takes after The End of Heartache with a bit of a punk-ish kind of vibe as the three-and-a-half minute piece gets halfway into its progression. The sustainability remains untouched in Shape Shifter and the high velocity of Toast to the Ghost, where it takes a vitalised step with death metal drumming in its pre-chorus, along with Vext’s throwdown and hardcore-influenced roaring. And finally, I Swear keeps a similar approach present as the previous, where Bad Wolves make what would sound like a good conclusion to an action-packed Hollywood movie. All in all, “Disobey” may look generic and monotonous as full-length LP, but its cover is the perfect candidate to prove as to why one should never judge a book by its cover. Because, dear god, this is something that unquestionably demolishes the expectations of anyone.
Although a lot of emotion can be translated by ones vocal cords, no other vocalist comes closer to putting so much raw energy and potency into their voice than Tommy Vext. The ones that have dealt with a plethora of personal demons throughout their life tend to have the most celestial and angelic voices you could ever hear. In Vext’s case, this is beyond an understatement in terms of his capability as a vocalist. Sure, you can find a lot of singers can effect on someone’s feelings when they listen to particular songs. But, for someone like Vext to have the aptitude of influencing the listener into feeling his own emotions from ire to grief is a rare gift in itself.
But, that’s not to discredit the rest of Bad Wolves, as each and every instrumentalist involved supply the entirety of this record with a great amount of potency, well-balanced and recorded arrangement on its melodies and formidable mixing along with its leviathan-sized production. To have ex-members of DevilDriver, In This Moment, God Forbid and Bury Your Dead, you know there’s a super-tight team involved as an entire band. Bad Wolves have succeeded where no other band in 2018 has been able to, by creating an album that has revitalised the sound of American heavy metal from its predecessors such as Shadows Fall and Chimaira. If there were to be a new band to lead the way after Metallica and Iron Maiden have called it quits, there would be no other entity best suited for this role than Bad Wolves. I feel like the future of metal is in good hands.
GRAB YOUR COPY OF ‘DISOBEY’ RIGHT HERE