Never have I encountered such a young band with such promise since I’ve begun writing. Blood of the Wolf are a Chicago based Blackened Death Metal act, and upon my first listen, I’ve never been so shocked at the amount brutality, stamina and power until I set upon ‘Album I + II’. Not necessarily a new release, but rather a compilation of their debut records, ‘I: The Law of Retaliation’ and ‘II: Campaign of Extermination’, bringing their concept to a close and fully bringing together some of the most intense Death Metal I’ve encountered in years.
Depicting the violence and darkness of war, the opening track Annihilation Overture begins with a brutal soundtrack of armies battling, squelching of bodies and just pure insanity, along with a fade in of the instrumentals; perfectly depicting and foreshadowing the utter devastation and savagery that’s to come with the rest of the album. After reviewing a few death metal albums, I’ve begun to notice that the opening track to most records truly showcases the band’s speed and talent, but thankfully, Blood of the Wolf haven’t even begun yet, proving that with their next track Iron and Weapons of War. It’s been such a long time since I’ve truly (and almost literally) been pushed back and blown away by such a fury of blast beats, speed and ferocity that this track ensues, and it doesn’t stop there.
Throughout the two records, vocalist and guitarist Mike Koniglio really resembles Vader vocalist Piotr Wiwczarek, and by no means is that a bad thing; it creates a sense of nostalgia within the listener’s mind, therefore associating it with such a big outfit, but not so much that you can’t distinguish the vocalists apart. Whilst Koniglio, bassist Christopher Grimes and guitarist Frank Garcia hold the band together in the melodic/shredding section, the standout member is BY FAR drummer Rick Hernandez. Being a drummer in a Blackened Death Metal drummer is by no means an easy feat, but man, his pure stamina, energy and creativity resembles Inferno so much, that I genuinely got lost, thinking this was old-school Behemoth at one point.
Continuing their concept on the second release and 11th track, Thunder the Drums of War, the shift between the two albums is noticeable, but incredibly similar in terms of mix/master, as to not throw the flow off-balance. Thunder the Drums Of War begins almost instantly where they left off with ‘I: The Law of Retaliation’, throwing themselves into machine-gun-like explosions of double bass, incredibly tight tremolo picking, mind-numbing riffs and a noticeable improvement on Koniglio’s vocal abilities. Whilst it can be attributed to the cleanliness of the mix as apposed to the first half, it’s easy to point out the vast improvement in vocal technique and power, giving Koniglio a much more full, ranged ability.
Campaign of Extermination, the band’s first single of their second release ‘II: Campaign of Extermination’ continues straight off of Thunder the Drums of War, with some of the most pulverizing, mind shattering music I’ve heard all year. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, Hernandez is Blood of the Wolf’s golden ticket, without a doubt in my mind. Although it could be attributed to incredible songwriting, the sheer amount of talent Hernandez exhumes is just some of the most devilish, insane and mind-blowing rawness I’ve heard in so long, that Blood of the Wolf need to do everything in their power to keep him on board for good.
Nothing but pure, barbaric Blackened Death Metal, Blood of the Wolf’s compilation album of their first two full length albums is the perfect showcase of brutality, violence and darkness. If you’re a fan of Behemoth, Vader, Marduk or Belphegor, get this album R I G H T N O W, right HERE!