Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
With a name like Bad Wolves I guess we’d not expect a band playing pink and fluffy pop music, right? Well we’d be correct! With Die About It, their soon to be released album (3.11.23), Bad Wolves unleash a cacophony of hyper-melodic hand very cleverly written and arranged heaviosity that, like their fairy tale namesake, will see them levelling buildings and slaying allcomers with ease.
Die About It opens with short instrumental intro piece that frankly does not prepare the listener for the coming onslaught of ‘Bad Friend’ which is a napalm-infused bruiser of a track with quite possibly the most gloriously heavy guitar riff I have ever heard.
Downtuned a LONG way to add more filth and growl to an already crushing riff, the guitars of Doc Coyle scythe their way through a bludgeoning roar of cacophonous noise upon which vocalist Daniel “DL” Laskiewicz weaves his melodies. And despite the heavy and almost discordant riffing, there is real melody here. The chorus melodies aren’t unlike something that Nickelback might produce, but we’re only seconds away from a sickening discordant guitar noisefest that pins us to the wall.
Title track ‘Die About It’ sees vocalist DL busting some snappy rhymes, rapping over ethereal keyboards and chugging guitars before a Death Metal riff and grunted vocals herald another highly melodic but colossally heavy chorus, the melding of styles working surprisingly well. The production is really cool here, with very clever use of light and shade.
‘Savior’ is next and is a fabulously melodic track. Don’t get me wrong, the unfeasibly heavy guitars are still here, but this time they are tamed a little on a track that structurally and melodically reminds me of a heavier Daughtry. It would make a great single as it has an exceptionally infectious chorus. This – dare I say it – more ‘commercial’ sound continues on ‘Hungry For Life’, with some extremely delicate crooning from DL before he kicks into more power on another fabulously melodic anthem which again tames the Metal savagery just a tad, allowing the melodies to breathe slightly more.
‘Legends Never Die’ goes full Nickelback on us, vocally, structurally and melodically, although the guitar arrangements on this are more interesting than Nickelback ever managed. Like the previous two tracks, this one also tames the full-on Metal assault into something far more melodic, but then the band throw a curve-ball in by adding a bit of classic Linkin Park style rapping into the middle 8 before a short guitar solo. Very creative and very effective, it adds interest to an already very cool track.
‘NDA’ starts off with a very modern Pop vibe, with delicate keyboards and almost programmed sounding drums before the huge slabs of guitar scythe in for the chorus. When the drum part elevates after the first chorus, I’m realising how important drummer John Boecklin is to the Bad Wolves sound, with his powerful and interesting rhythmic work.
This song is also interesting because there is a saxophone in there before the guitar solo (and again with a cracking solo at the end of the song) – not something you’d expect in music like this, but it absolutely works. This is another absolutely monstrously catchy anthem with yet more clever production and arrangement ideas to add interest to proceedings and that prevent this becoming just another modern Metal album.
However, despite the Pop infused brilliance of the preceding tracks, the Metal isn’t far away and ‘Move On’ is chock full of proper Metal, with death grunt vocals and utterly brutal guitar riffery just roaring out of the speakers before yet another crazily melodic chorus. This really shouldn’t work, but it really just does. You never know what’s coming next and yet it all sounds wonderfully cohesive.
After the onslaught of ‘Move On’, ‘Masquerade’ provides more contrast. The combination of heavy guitars and modern Pop keyboards is genius and once again, the chorus is one of mountain-levelling immensity. Drummer John Boecklin once again excels here with lightning fast runs round the kit and pounding accents to the riffery and chorus melodies.
‘Masquerade’ is another example of the band’s creativity in adding parts to break up the structure – a new guitar riff here, a keyboard part there – it all keeps the interest levels high and elevates the songs to a different level.
‘Say It Again’ continues the themes of powerful, melodic Pop-infused Metal that we’ve been treated to throughout the album and it is yet another massive anthem full of stunning drum work, clever guitar riffery, delicate keyboard layers and ridiculously infectious vocal melody. There is even a guitar solo with some Iron Maiden-esque harmony lines.
‘It’s You (2 Months)’ provides a bit of a surprise by dragging out an acoustic guitar on another track that sounds like a WAY better version of Nickelback.
There is also a wonderful female vocal on this one (apparently an artist by the name of Killboy) and her totally 21st century Pop style vocal somewhat surprisingly fits this track like the proverbial velvet glove! This is yet another utterly glorious anthem that effortlessly combines genres and should be on radios the world over. Utterly awesome!
‘Turn It Down’ is next and I can imagine enraged parents yelling just that to their offspring who are playing this album at full pelt! By now, we know exactly what to expect and this track does not disappoint in any way whatsoever, being another monstrously heavy but unfathomably melodic anthem.
The album closes with ‘Set You On Fire’, which has an irresistible Pop vibe for the first verse before the guitars and drums kick in on another huge anthem with one of the catchiest choruses on the album. This is another track where the guitars and keyboards combine to absolute perfection. It’s a mighty fine album closer and no mistake!
Well, what an utterly fantastic album! I have to confess that it really surprised me with its depth, with the quality of the writing, performances and production.
This is certainly one of the most interesting releases I have heard in a while because of the contrast between the ultra-heavy Metal sections and the Pop-influenced parts.
I absolutely love it and I’m not usually a fan of very heavy music. The standout points for me are the incredibly melodic anthemic choruses and the absolutely brilliant production and arrangement skills of all involved.
There is just so much going on, but it all hangs together brilliantly. Every member of the band plays absolutely out of their skins on this too. There really is a ton of talent involved here! Do yourself a favour when this is released on 3rd November and make sure you give it a listen. It’s staggeringly good!
DIE ABOUT IT Track Listing:
2. Bad Friend
3. Die About It
5. Hungry For Life
6. Legends Never Die
8. Move On
10. Say It Again
11. It’s You (2 Months)
12. Turn It Down
13. Set You On Fire
Tickets are on sale now at https://badwolvesnation.com/pages/tour.