Review & Track Premiere: Wolftooth, Wolftooth

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

wolftooth wolftooth

[Click play above to stream ‘Frost Lord’ from Wolftooth’s self-titled debut. Album is out Jan. 19 digitally on Cursed Tongue Records with vinyl to follow in May and CD and tape due March 9 via Blackseed Records.]

The bite force of a large wolf has been said to exceed 1,000 pounds of pressure, making it particularly efficient at crushing bones of prey. Their fangs can grow to an inch in length. Thus, for the sharpness of their execution and the thrust behind it, one can only consider Indiana heavy rockers Wolftooth aptly named. The double-guitar Hoosier four-piece make their debut via Blackseed Records and Cursed Tongue Records with a self-titled eight-tracker that from the very beginnings of opener “Blackbirds Call” engages the overarching question of where heavy rock stops and heavy metal begins; a semi-aggro push punctuated by the insistent chug of guitarists Chris Sullivan (also vocals) and Jeff Cole and the popping snare of drummer Johnny Harrod that’s given due heft by bassist Terry McDaniel.

Informed somewhat in its melodic reach by modern progressive metal via the likes of a less angular Baroness, the mid-tempo swing of “Aegaeon” finds vocals layered and manipulated in a manner that recalls Fireball Ministry‘s compressed style, and the penultimate “Forged in Fire,” though it embarks on a gallop just past its halfway point, reaffirms that notion early in its going, as does the harmony-laced closer “Season of the Witch.” A persistent use of epic themes in cuts like “Sword of My Father,” “White Mountain,” “Frost Lord” — unless they just really love cocaine, which given the cohesiveness of their sound seems less likely, but I suppose isn’t impossible — and some of the push in “White Mountain,” or “The Huntress” and “Blackbirds Call” could be said to be culled from High on Fire, but like the other potential points of influence or at least sonic congruity noted above, as well as the classic-style Thin Lizzy stomp that begins “Sword of My Father,” these are filtered through the band’s own modus of expression and come through as their own.

Wolftooth, in other words, make an impression.

That they’d do so isn’t necessarily a surprise. Very quickly, the tastes of Blackseed and Cursed Tongue have each become a trustworthy factor as regards the releases the imprints choose to stand behind, and the 42 minutes of Wolftooth‘s Wolftooth acquit themselves well in terms of the obvious conscious thought put into their song structures and melodic arrangements. Also the shortest track at 3:55, “Sword of My Father” might also have the album’s most resonant hook, but it’s one of many, and as the forward-charging slicer “Frost Lord” turns just before three minutes in to its metallo-chugging mosh part — at least one of these guitarists came of age amid the rise of metalcore near the turn of the century — there’s certainly a memorable moment being captured. Perhaps what’s most striking overall about the album, though, is how fluidly Wolftooth tie these ideas together into a coherent entirety.

wolftooth

No question it’s a collection of songs as opposed to a singular work, but the band split the tracklist neatly in half to bring the two sides of their debut long-player to bear with a marked flow from front to back, and aside from being impressively consistent in tone across its span, in the expanding melodies of “The Huntress” and “Season of the Witch” — which, it should be noted, does not seem to be a Donovan cover — one can nonetheless hear how much effort the group has put into crafting this material, and that very much extends to the production contribution of Jeremy Lovins at LedFields Studio in Connorsville, IN. Produced in conjunction with the band and assisted in engineering by Skylar Nichols, the clarity of Wolftooth‘s underlying aesthetic and sonic ideas comes that much more to fruition because, one senses, not just of the past experience of members in other acts, but because of the partnership between band and studio, the two sides working in conjunction toward the same ends.

All of this, of course, feeds into the notion of Wolftooth, as a debut album, being particularly noteworthy in its sheer got-itself-together-ness. That’s a somewhat patronizing cliche to use, but it’s a striking appeal all the same, and further evidenced by the balanced nature with which Wolftooth approach what for them is a thin line between rock and metal and prove themselves able to follow the whims of their songwriting to one side of it or the other. To wit, the pairing of “Frost Lord” and “The Huntress” or “White Mountain” coming out of “Sword of My Father” to cap side A. This dynamic, bolstered by the steadiness in the production itself, gives the album its sense of range, and Sullivan‘s melodic vocal approach assures that as they recount tales of witches, broadswords and other epic/fantasy thematics, they neither become overly dramatic nor chestbeatingly dudely in their delivery, even as “Frost Lord” dips into its triplet-gallop chugging breakdown.

It should be noted that Wolftooth caps with its three longest tracks in “The Huntress,” “Forged in Fire” and “Season of the Witch,” which leads one to wonder if perhaps the band aren’t signaling intentions toward even grander fare their next time out. Would be fair enough. They’re still able to hone a memorable chorus into these longer slabs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they expanded the interweaving aspects of the two guitars as they moved forward and wound up with longer tracks as a result, although the more immediate impact of “Sword of My Father” here is a factor to consider. Whichever way they go, Wolftooth‘s forward potential is writ large throughout this first offering, and that it drives one toward such speculation for avenues of their future progression should be taken as a sign of how likely that progression seems to take place in general, regardless of its ultimate direction.

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Wolftooth Sign to Cursed Tongue Records; Debut LP out in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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Classic metal and heavy rock crash headfirst in Wolftooth‘s ‘The Huntress,’ which is just one of the eight tracks on the band’s self-titled debut LP that makes it easy to understand what Cursed Tongue Records was thinking in signing the four-piece to release the album on vinyl. They were thinking it ruled. I’m enjoying how hard it’s becoming to argue with their taste, and as Wolftooth join choice snags like Sumokem, Earth WitchNeon WarshipDevil’s WitchesGreen Yeti and Mental Tremors, a significant reliability factor is coming together. Trust is a good thing. Trust that someone is going to back cool riffs is even better.

You can hear “The Huntress” as well as two other cuts from Wolftooth‘s Wolftooth now via the band’s Bandcamp, streaming at the bottom of this post. The LP itself will arrive early next year with preorders up sometime between now and then. In the meanwhile, here’s the announcement from Cursed Tongue to make the alliance official:

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WOLFTOOTH SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT FULL LENGTH ALBUM.

We are extremely happy to announce the rabid new signing from Cursed Tongue Records

Hailing from the Midwest via Richmond IN comes the “Stoner Metal Riff Worshipers” Wolftooth consisting of a pack of well seasoned musicians (all 20+ yr metal scene veterans) determined to raise the bar of the almighty riff. Wolftooth combines influences from the 70’s and early 80’s NWOBHM with Bay Area Thrash and doom laden riffery. Meanwhile the vocals soar over blues drenched solos that add a stoner sensibility to the Wolftooth sound.

Wolftooth, despite having just existed for a short period of time, have already released an EP of three songs on Bandcamp in August 2017 that secured them a place at #12 on the September edition of Doom Charts and general acclaim amidst reviewers across the heavy underground scene. It brings evidence of a band that’s aiming high and is willing to put the muscle and mind behind.

Some bands need a whole career to make an impression. Wolftooth only needed three tracks to impress on an epic scale and after listening to their EP we just instantly knew that this band are going places. So it is a natural thing to add Wolftooth to the Cursed Tongue Records roster as we feel the music the band purveys is an extension of our love for metal and rock. We are stoked to be putting thier debut full length album out in the first half of 2018. Official release date and preorder details to be revealed in due time.

Wolftooth hits hard with a unique blend of stoner, 90’s alternative rock, hintes of 80’s glory and some goddamned heavy riffs that makes this band worth your full attention. So lookout cause Wolftooth is on a mission to bring the “Power of the Riff” to the masses.

CTR-007, Wolftooth – ‘Wolftooth’, official release date: first half 2018

Wolftooth is:
Chris Sullivan – Guitar and Vocals
Jeff Cole – Guitar
Terry McDaniel Jr – Bass
Johnny Harrod – Drums

Recorded at Led Fields studio Connersvile IN
Engineered and mixed by Jeremy Lovins
Assistant Engineer: Skylar Nichols
Produced by Wolftooth and Jeremy Lovins
All music composed and arranged by Wolftooth
*Keyboard arrangements by Jeremy Lovins

Track listing:
Side A
1. Blackbirds Call
2. Aegaeon
3. Sword Of My Father
4. White Mountain

Side B
5. Frost Lord
6. The Huntress
7. Season Of The Witch
8. Forged In Fire

http://wolftooth.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.facebook.com/wolftoothmetal/
https://www.instagram.com/wolftooth_metal/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtongue
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/

Wolftooth, Wolftooth EP (2017)

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