Alexei Stakhanov was a very famous man, back in the day. A miner of worldwide repute, his productivity in Soviet coal mines was the stuff of legend. And work rate, as any football manager will tell you, is a thing of beauty, worthy of reverence and acclaim…
I mention Stakhanov in passing merely by way of reference because here we are, clutching the fourth Werewolves album in our sweaty paws a mere forty months after the band’s first album, The Dead Are Screaming, stoved our heads in with it’s exciting mix of nihilistic rhythm and bludgeoning sonic assault and battery. Four albums in forty months? If that’s not a Stakhanovite work rate, especially in these lazy days of ‘leave it to the AI’, I don’t know what is..
Of course, being able to produce seemingly on demand is only a skill worth having if you can give people what they actually want – Stakhanov would probably be imprisoned now for delivering coal to the masses – but I’m delighted to say that once more bassist/vocalist Sam Bean, Matt Willcock (guitars) and drummer David Haley have delivered in spades if debilitating filth is what you crave. This really is remarkable, given the three of them don’t just create their dirty art under the Werewolves banner; but once again they’ve come up with half an hour’s worth of sadistic aural punishment, racing through a set of nine scathing, screeching anthems, the best of which are easily on par with any of the highlights of what’s gone before in the Werewolves canon.
For instance, closing track Do Not Hold Me Back, with it’s glorious “maybe you’re a cunt, maybe you’re a fucking cunt” closing refrain, is as good an example of the maintenance of rage and it’s deployment as a weapon of utter unforgiving violence as you’ll hear this or any other year; Bean’s delivery is peerless almost to the point of self-parody, whilst Willcock’s scorched earth stringmanship brings a tear to the ear with it’s measured savagery. And Haley? Well, you know what this man is capable of by now, surely?
If anything, Werewolves v.2023 is a heavier, dirtier, darker beast than it’s 2020 counterpart. And that is surely something worth celebrating.
My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me releases on August 11th.