The roots of Wolfbrigade can be traced back to the early 80’s and a band called Anti-Cimex who were Sweden’s answer to Discharge. That band released a classic 7″, the delightfully named Raped Ass, which is considered a D-Beat defining record and they’ave been considered hugely influential especially to Grindcore legends Napalm Death who covered Victims Of A Bomb Raid.
Wolfbrigade initially formed as Wolfpack and released 3 albums in that incarnation before deciding to wisely change their name due its association with a Swedish Neo-Nazi prison gang. With the Wolfbrigade moniker the band have gone onto release 7 albums, the latest being The Enemy: Reality. Having enjoyed their preceding record, 2017’s Run With The Hunted, I was excited to hear what this new effort would sound like.
The record has been released by Southern Lord who for those of you not in know is Sunn O)))’s Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley’s record label. Southern Lord has been branching out in recent years from its core roots of Drone/Doom Metal and has been releasing music from a wide variety of genres including Black Metal, Post-Hardcore, Electronic music and Hardcore Punk. Indeed, with regards to the latter they have been reissuing and issuing records from the likes of Final Warning, Poison Idea and Excel. It’s clear that Greg and Stephen have a passion and affinity for the genre, and this would therefore indicate that Wolfbrigade are a pretty good fit for the label.
On first glance, the album’s cover art is somewhat deceptive, with 2 female winged demons straddling a skull wheel and you wouldn’t necessarily associate it with Wolfbrigade’s sound, it fits more with say a band like Hellhammer, Sarcofago or any number of first wave Black Metal bands. However, the more you listen to the record, the more the crude simplicity of the cover art starts to make sense and fit with the band’s rough and ready sound and aesthetic.
if you’re a fan of Crust Punk and/or Rock ‘n’ Roll infused Melodic Death Metal then you will get a big kick out of this record…
One thing to note is that unlike Anti-Cimex who specialised solely in D-Beat Hardcore Crust Punk, Wolfbrigade take a lot more of a dirtier route incorporating what I can only describe as a Motorhead meets Melodic Death Metal sound. In fact, in some ways at times they do sound like Wolverine Blues era Entombed and vocalist Mikael Dahl does bare a passing resemblance to that bands LG Petrov with his rather gruff vocal approach. That’s not to say that they have ditched their Hardcore roots altogether, the band does thunder along at a frenetic pace. I would say that if there is one criticism to be levelled it’s that the songs do tend to bleed into one another and therefore it is a record that warrants a few listens.
The band have also updated their sound with a vastly improved production. Whereas in true Crust style Anti-Cimex had a production sound that was let’s say less than stellar, all the instrumentation and vocals on here come through much clearer and crisper.
As far as lyrical themes are concerned the band have commented that ‘the lyrics on The Enemy: Reality dissect the state of human existence, the bizarre animal presence that we are. The naked apes. Exploring the dynamics that rule man. Power and submission. Manipulation.’ Interesting, it’s clear that aside from kicking ass musically, the band have something going on upstairs and try to write lyrics that have some level of intelligence.
Overall if you’re a fan of Crust Punk and/or Rock ‘n’ Roll infused Melodic Death Metal then you will get a big kick out of this record.
Scribed by: Reza Mills