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.

Wolftooth on Bandcamp

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Descendants of Crom 2018 Announces Initial Lineup with Geezer, Devil to Pay, Kind, Curse the Son, Come to Grief, Heavy Temple and Many More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

There are still headliners to be announced and others to come as well, and no doubt between now and then there will be one or two shakeups to what’s listed here between bands being added and bands dropping off as will invariably happen, but kudos all the same to organizer Shy Kennedy for the super-early unveiling of what’s probably the bulk of the lineup for Descendants of Crom 2018, the second installment of the Pittsburgh-based heavy fest. In addition to her own band, Horehound, Kennedy has already assembled a killer roster of acts, from Heavy Temple to Come to Grief to a slew of Steel City reserves in OutsideInside, Molasses Barge and others, and even if this was going to be the ultimate shape the festival would take — that is, if no one else was going to be added, which, again, they are — you’d still have to call it a good time in the making.

If you’ve got a 2018 calendar yet, mark it. Earlybird tickets are linked below. Here’s the announcement as posted by the fest, along with a quote graciously provided by Kennedy herself:

descendants of crom 2018

Blackseed Records Presents: Descendants of Crom 2018

The Descendants of Crom 2018 will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, USA in September 2018.

Pre Gala at Howlers in the evening on Thursday, September 27th.

Full days on September 28th and 29th at Cattivo.

“Descendants of Crom has been one of the most incredibly rewarding endeavors I’ve ever been involved with,” says fest organizer Shy Kennedy. “Having so many great people working and coming together for their underground music community the way they did that day was inspiring enough to erase any doubt that it has to grow. It has to be an annual event. Next year’s event may seem far away but it lends the time to really build it and get more people aware of it. As you know, a lot of work goes into a musical festival and if you take your time, it becomes a very enjoyable task. Descendants of Crom 2018 will be here all too soon and I, for one, cannot wait!”

Once upon a time there were 17 bands who joined forces to create one killer day of live, riff-ripping performances to celebrate the great community of our heavy, underground music here in the Northeast of the United States. That time was just a couple months back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The all day event was a great collaboration in effort by local organization, bands from the region as well as a few touring and some very generous scene contributors. It was called the Descendants of Crom. Let’s do it again!

The second annual Descendants of Crom will be held on the last weekend of September of 2018 in Pittsburgh again. This time span three days in length as we are including a Thursday evening pre gala and all day events happening Friday and Saturday. There will be over 30 bands in total coming from all over the United States with a strong regional focus.

Tickets will be offered for single day to day events or in combinations. An Early Crow ticket sale will be held for the weekend combo for a 3 month period, limited to 125. These will be live soon today.

Stay tuned to find out the bands who will be rounding out the evenings of each night as well as the completed schedule.

Today, we announce the “meat” of the Descendants of Crom. These bands are the ones supporting this scene locally, regionally and or nationally. They are strong, beautiful creators of the jam, the breakdown, the beat, and the undeniable riff… they are the Descendants of Crom:

Descendants of Crom 2018 lineup:
The Long Hunt (PGH)
JaketheHawk (PGH)
Mires (PGH)
Solarburn (PGH)
Doctor Smoke (PGH)
Fist Fight In The Parking Lot (PGH)
Thunderbird Divine
Cloud
Curse the Son
Disenchanter
Molasses Barge (PGH)
OutsideInside
Wolftooth
Sierra
Horehound (PGH)
Cavern
Doomstress
Heavy Temple
Devil to Pay
Serpents of Secrecy
Eternal Black
Demon Eye
Geezer
Kind
Freedom Hawk
Duel
Come to Grief

Headliners and sub-headliners to be announced soon.
Early Crow tickets available for all event and 2 day passes for 3 months (11/23 – 2/23).

https://www.facebook.com/DescendantsOfCrom/
https://www.facebook.com/events/177536592803763
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3186333
http://descendantsofcrom.com

Solace, Live at Descendants of Crom 2017

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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

wolftooth

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:

wolftooth cursed tongue

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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