July 27, 2012

Wolvhammer - The Obsidian Plains

Review by Andy Osborn.

Wolvhammer was another great 2011 addition to Profound Lore's roster. Unfortunately, with this release sandwiched between The Atlas Moth's critically acclaimed psychedelic stoner anthems and Leviathan's controversial album, The Obsidian Plains seemed to get lost in the ether and fall short of the praise it deserved.

Photo by Carmelo Española

This is urban black metal. It's a lifeless, concrete-grey, devoid of life and filthy beyond hope. The Minneapolis quartet aren't "post" or "gaze" anything, throwing down slabs of blackened sludge riffs that crush your skull and warp your mind. Adam Clemans' horse screams form a blistering inferno over the punk-ish verses and brilliantly placed guitar solos. The songs generally follow the same pattern of medium-paced fist pounding that become increasingly infections before suddenly turning to upbeat jams that kick your teeth in. Second track "Writhe" is mid-tempo madness that's angry in the best possible way; it makes you want to bang your head against the rotting corpse of an abandoned warehouse, raging against the bleak emptiness around you. Only the closer "The Sentinals" breaks this mold by turning it down a couple bpms and suddenly ending the album by pounding away at your psyche, leaving you lost and confused.

If you ever wonder if there's any great USBM you've missed in the past couple years and notice this gem isn't in your collection, do yourself a favor and add it.

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  1. I gave this a listen when it first came out and didn't get very excited, but I'm really liking it the second time around.

    1. This is my first time listening to it, and damn it's good. Raging against the bleak emptiness is a pretty apt description.