Review: Wolves In Winter ‘The Calling Quiet’

It’s not very often the name Bradford comes up as the birthplace for any major musical events or is the breeding ground for any hot new talent. Besides the likes of The Cult, My Dying Bride, and ahem, Terrorvision, there isn’t, in my experience anyway, a wealth to pick from. Thankfully Wolves In Winter are here to rectify that imbalance.

Wolves In Winter 'The Calling Quiet'

The five-piece, a culmination of members from several other seasoned bands, including Ironrat, Solstice, Lazarus Blackstar and Monolith Cult, takes the ideals of classic doom metal, and injects new life into the genre, pulling it right up to the modern age.

Now, according to the band’s biography, they are driven by ‘enormous tones’ and ‘crushing riffs’, and on this, I would wholeheartedly agree, as what you get is a truly monumental melding of both of those, to form a barbaric aural assault that’s guaranteed to leave you bruised and battered. So, it will surely come as no surprise over the course of this review, that at least a similar smattering of words will be thrown up throughout.

The Calling Quiet is the band’s first full-length release, and over the course of the six tracks, you will be challenged, face first, by a whole new realm of battery on your ear holes, so get ready for a battering.

Opening with a track entitled Cord That Ends The Pain, I hope this will instantly give an idea as to the likes of the subject matter which will be covered over the coming forty minutes. I’m instantly drawn towards a Cult Of Luna feel, as slow, drudgy post-rock drives the opener. It’s peculiar, because as it plays through, I am drawn more and more towards the vocals that, at times, are reminiscent of Mina Caputo of Life Of Agony, or even Glenn Danzig.

Now, when I say vocal, I really mean a pained croon, but I guess no one wants to be considered a ‘crooner’ in the whole metal industry so I will continue with saying ‘vocal’, as it may well be less offensive. Not that this is in ANY way a bad point, I absolutely love a Caputo and a Danzig vocal as I’ve been a big fan of both bands for an incredibly long time.

What I am struck by is that the vocal is so powerful, that only the darkest of doom would be adequate to properly compliment this, and not come off in a way which cheapens the whole affair. Thankfully, this isn’t the case, and the final result is a dank slice of chunky, hard-faced doom, which will leave you wanting for nothing, but at the same time begging for more.

the ideals of classic doom metal, and injects new life into the genre, pulling it right up to the modern age…

Track two, Nemesis, takes the groundwork of the opener, and piles on the intensity, building on the foundations and constructing a monolithic tower of sonic majesty, fit for sitting in a place as dark as Mordor itself. For all of its dark doom, there is also an air of a funeral prog about it, its somewhat gothic. Not goth, but gothic, there aren’t any moody eyelinered miserabilists here, only chugging devil dogs. With this one I can feel My Dying Bride styled doom pulsing through, and for me personally, this is a glorious touch, as again, My Dying Bride are another favourite band. 

Pastime For Helots starts in a pensive way and has a more sombre feel. With the changes in tone at play , softer into heavier, and then back again, I’m actually transfixed by this tune, and I think it’s quickly become my favourite track on the whole album. Again, I’m truly captivated by that Caputo-esque vocal, and it’s at this point I finally feel safe to stake my claim on Wolves In Winter being the most akin to Life Of Agony in my mind, especially the second couple of albums, Ugly and Soul Searching Sun. There is just something that I can’t turn away from, the very essence of the band screams Life Of Agony to me.

Promised Harvest, track four, feels like an extension of its predecessor, and by now I’m sure you can guess where my mind is at. Oceans, the fifth slice of doomy goodness, comes back around to that My Dying Bride feel. It’s slower in pace, but it is dark and morose because of the slowed structure, feeling like an endless anguish, but in the best possible way.

At times it has a retro feel about it, there are some classic rock elements in the mix, but it doesn’t take away from its intensity at all. By the time the title and final track rolls around to close the doors on the opus, the true weight of the work is evident for all to see. Calling The Quiet is an emotionally charged piece, and after a dark and slow start, it picks up into a more intense, vastly heavier crescendo. At its climax it ends on a real high, and the urge to restart the whole thing is entirely overwhelming.

Coming away from this, I would say if you were willing to invest some time with Wolves In Winter, please, please, please, give it a few listens, and see if it grows on you, as it did with me. Not so much like a fungus but something otherworldly as I truly feel if you want something new for 2023, these guys are where it will be.

Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish