Wolf Blood – S/T – LP/CS/DD 2014

Wolf Blood - S/TOne can be fairly sure that witches are not the only ones who produce unholy sounds and know a lot about herbs. This ensemble from Duluth, Minnesota clearly is well versed in the art of magic, if we presume to call it that. Their fuzzy and frantic music is definitely not born from a sober state.

The way they describe their origins is shrouded in smoke. In a dark basement Wolf Blood was born out of an unholy (yes, I might use that word again later) union of psychedelic music and doom. I’m fairly sure it might have been a garage due to the raw sound of a garage rock band, but a basement sound suits these guys better. The band members have some previous experience in bands like Dirty Horse, Dad’s Acid and The Keep Aways.

So where does that leave the boys from Duluth? Well, they sound a bit like Windhand, but with a bit more fun, along with the push-the-pedal mentality of Doomriders, the old school sound of Witch filled with crackling amps and soaring vocals, that sound just strange and different enough to keep you listening.

The opening riffs of this record immediately grabs your attention and anticipation for what is to come. The vocals on Witch are being shouted, then hissed. There’s a witch in town and the town’s folk are feeling restless. That unrest is the build-up of slow sludgy riffs, escalating quickly into frenzied heavy metal. It’s more fury than technique here, and in general Wolf Blood tends to sound a bit too punk or too stoned for metal. What the title Ochro Ologo means, I cannot tell you. I can tell you it’s a blazing, break-neck speed tune of frantic stoner rock with a lot of guitar riffs chipping off the rocket and floating away. Towards the end of the track, it breaks down again in fat riffs that ring in your ears.

Dancing On Your Grave opens with a nice guitar sound that could come from Saint Vitus or Bedemon. The song starts out calm, builds up atmosphere but then propels onwards into a flurry of guitar work, recapturing its rhythm and then letting go again. The howling vocals and tasty hooks make this, as far as I’m concerned, the strongest track on this record. The amazing guitar skills get half of the song as an introduction to be displayed on Black Moon. After that, a thunderous rhythm with roaring vocals suddenly spills out. As if the dark mass under a black moon was disturbed and the antagonist of the story must flee.

From there on, the hunt has started with galloping rhythms and tense guitar play on Exile. We were talking about witches and this song is definitely the chase. Hectic and severe, the music jutters onward while the vocals are cries of panic and haste, urging us onwards. The song is the shortest on the record but surely it must be the rawest. Wild, haggard and fast, the bass pushes the song to its 3:31 crescendo.

The witch must be caught during the previous song, because Procession Of The Witch tells us so. The muddy, dragging doom track continues on for about 12 minutes. The buzz in that ominous droning sound keeps the listener on edge. After about 7 minutes, the howling vocals come in. Jagged screams over reverberating guitar sounds, creating chaos. Psychedelic layers of guitar shroud the screams of despair towards the end of the song. As if the fire slowly consumes the witch, but the mood remains restless.

I’m amazed that this band is not as well-known as I believe they should be. Their sound fits in with the whole retro movement, but there’s also a typical sound to them to distinguish them from the big pile that tries to cash in on trends. The songs are good and the record is coherent. Perhaps the reason is simply that they’re not that fussed as I am about their album. Seriously, check Wolf Blood out, if you can find them.

Label: Self Released | Burning World Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Guido Segers