The sun-drenched vineyards and sleepy villages of Northern Italy’s Piedmont region are hardly renowned for producing quality heavy music, but for well over a decade now, Ufomammut’s psychotropic brand of space-doom has put the city of Alessandria on the map. Featuring Ufomammut’s own Vito on drums and “Doomqueen” bassist Kayt Vigil (ex- The Hounds Of Hasselvander, ex-Pentagram), Sonic Wolves are new on the local scene, and offer up a very different take on heavy with their debut single, He Said.
Little more than the antipasto before the upcoming debut full-length (out soon on Taxi Driver Records), this record store day release offers up two tracks: each as heavy as the other, but with its own distinct flavour. He Said is a bluesy number, underpinned by a lazy shuffle, which neatly flits between meandering verses and bombastic instrumental passages. With a throwback guitar solo making liberal use of wah and phaser effects, this is less Welcome to Sky Valley, more “big sky country”. By comparison Song For The Earthbound has much more of a heads-down hard rock stomp to it, with plenty of vocal hooks, lashings of cowbell (what else?), and riffs which are sure to pound audiences into fist-pumping, beer-swilling ecstasy. Overall the sound on this record is far more cultured than your typical doom outfit, and with stomping rhythms which mirror the towering grandeur of the Southern Alps, these two tracks have an almost timeless feel to them.
So that’s the good, and to be honest, I’m struggling to find much I don’t like about this. My only gripe of note is that the high-pitched vocals which punctuate the first track started to grate on these ears a little bit, and perhaps could have done with having the edge taken off them in production. Despite that minor blemish this is a well-conceived 7 inch which should appeal to fans of the current crop of retro-doom revivalists as well as anybody who enjoyed last couple of Kylesa (RIP) full lengths. Sonic Wolves are a band to keep tabs on!
Scribed by: Jon Weatherill