This is album number three for Aussie blackened death unit Werewolves, so we’re up to speed with what we’re about to be subjected to when we press play and settle back for the aural kicking to come.
[Thirty one minutes and nine seconds later]…
Christ on a bike, perhaps the best thing about FTCTHG after the first listen is that, yes, Werewolves deliver exactly what you’d expect with this new album. There’s no room for experimentation when you’re Australia’s leading purveyor of ‘caveman music’, that’s for sure, and you’ll be relieved after being told to fuck off by a disembodied voice at the end of track two, the mission statement that is We Are Better Than You, that, on the face of it, nothing has changed for the band or it’s ever-growing legion of listeners.
However repeated listens do reveal the album to have something of the consistency of an onion; beyond the loathsome sturm und drang, there are layers to strip back and enjoy. This is a Werewolves album that rewards repeated listens not just because you enjoy the visceral nature of the music but also because each time you return to it it gives slightly more of itself up to you. The album’s two standout cuts, Harvest of the Skulls and Oedipus Mandate find the band in quasi-progressive mood (relatively speaking, of course), with the grinding doomism of the former in particular standing out as an examplar of Werewolves as purveyors of nuanced, thought-provoking heavy metal.
I’m joking, of course, but the fact remains that this is easily the most advanced Werewolves album to date in many ways. You’d probably expect nothing less from musicians of the calibre of Sam Bean, Matt Wilcock and David Haley, who presumably shit this stuff out at will, but whilst you’re immersed in the serpentine unpleasantness of Harvest of the Skulls – the collective members of Morbid Angel would kill to still be able to write like this now – the sense becomes overwhelming that, for all the band’s glib nihilism, they really are a rather special proposition when you cut to the chase.
And, besides all this, any band that can juxtapose notions of schadenfreude with the sentiment ‘you cunting fucking fuckwit’, as these guys do on the fore-mentioned We Are Better Than You deserves the support of all right-thinking extreme music aficiondos, right?
From the Cave To the Grave releases on June 24th. And yes, Werewolves are better than you…