Reviewed: July, 2019
Released: 10th May, 2019, Aural Music
Reviewer: James Swandale
Following up on their ACAM award winning 2016 self-titled EP, doom metallers Age of the Wolf blast out of San José, Costa Rica with some 40+ minutes of big riffs, big fuzz and big vocals. All three of Age of the Wolf’s guitar section double up on vocals and you can really hear the distinct voices between, Jorge Camacho, Christopher de Haan and Beto Ramirez. All three work incredibly well together across the album creating big, chanting verses in between fuzz-drenched guitar, grounded and rounded out by Gabriel Ortiz’s excellent crashing drums.
Special shout out to the cover art which looks fantastic, nice skull, distorted perspective, some sort of portal in the distance and an eclipse over a nebula, lovely. I want a poster of this.
Right out the gate we get a nice big slow riff at the top of Herald of Abyssos. Clean vocals warm us up before some growling and screaming starts to layer in to the track. The drumming starts to pick up the pace, but never too much. This is a big ol’ chugging doom opener that lets each instrument have their time, nothing’s rushed and it never feels too slow, it’s like a rolling behemoth slowly dragging you to the conclusion, all the while laying on solos or more heavy riffing. More of the same follows in the second track, “Unholy”, though at a very slightly faster pace and with some powerful vocal choruses. “Goliath” slows the pace back down with a proggy opening and wailing guitar showing there’s a lot more direction the band want to cover before getting back to the the big riff doom of the openers.
Jumping ahead to track six, we start our journey toward the end of this monstrous album, and what a stand out song it is. A lone violin wails out in to the night as the guitars slowly bleed in to the background, whispers hauntingly flowing through the track till the violin screeches back in to frame, frantically weaving away till the close of this instrumental interlude.
Three and a half minutes is all you get though before the need for fuzz returns and we crash in to track seven, “Bloodrage”. Starting out pretty rapidly, this is one of the faster songs on the album, before dropping to something that sounds like a bar room field recording, then closing with some bluesy fuzz.
Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, “Molten Earth” is an excellent finisher, and probably my favourite track on the album, mixing almost demonic vocals before transitioning to almost ballad-like ones; all the best parts of an already very good album are smashed together for one final prayer to the fuzz gods. I hope to catch these guys live some day and join them in worship.