Album Review – Wolvencrown / A Shadow Of What Once Was EP (2021)

The new EP by this UK Atmospheric Black Metal entity depicts a time when the primeval forest swathed their homeland in arboreal splendor, enfolding the listener in layers of dream and memory.

Following up on the success of their 2019 critically acclaimed album Of Bark And Ash, Nottingham, England-based Atmospheric Black Metal horde Wolvencrown returns with a three-track EP titled A Shadow Of What Once Was, building upon the dynamic melodies and rich atmosphere of their debut opus. Showcasing a stunning artwork by Spanish illustrator Joan Llopis Doménech (Lustre, Sojourner, Ruadh), A Shadow Of What Once Was enfolds the listener in layers of dream and memory, summoning the scent of fallen leaves, the touch of evening mists and the howl of the pack upon the cold night breeze, all accompanied by the enthralling sounds crafted by vocalist and guitarist Nick, guitarist Jack, bassist Reece, keyboardist Will and drummer Matt. In other words, this is a release to be cherished, a dark treasure to uncover, a chance meeting upon a midnight path with long dead kings whose shades are swift of foot and sharp of tooth.

And they don’t waste a single second and begin blasting unfiltered, no shenanigans Atmospheric Black Metal in A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.1, with Nick roaring and slashing his strings at the same time accompanied by the Doom Metal beats by Matt, not to mention the phantasmagorical keys by Will while also presenting elements from classic Norwegian Black Metal. Then we have A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.2, the second part of this multi-layered extravaganza that is just as imposing and grandiose as its first act, with Will and Matt darkening the skies with their wicked keys and beats while Nick, Jack and Reece make an infernal stringed triumvirate, resulting in a captivating fusion of obscurity and madness with beautiful and atmospheric passages. Last but not least, get ready for over seven minutes of ethereal instrumental Atmospheric Black Metal made in the UK in Coming To An End, bringing forward a sinister Cradle of Filth-inspired vibe led by Will’s classy keys and the minimalist, tribal beats by Matt, therefore feeling like the soundtrack to a creepy horror movie.

After listening to their debut self-titled EP, to Of Bark and Ash, and now to A Shadow of What Once Was, I must say it’s truly impressive what the guys from Wolvencrown are capable of offering us fans of extreme and atmospheric music without sounding outdated or cheesy; quite the contrary, those UK metallers are always reinventing themselves and surprising us with new sounds, elements and nuances added to their core Atmospheric Black Metal. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook, and to grab your copy of A Shadow of What Once Was from their own BandCamp page or from Clobber Records in CD or cassette format or as a special bundle that comes with their 2017 debut self-titled EP. For some bands an EP might represent a stop gap release, a time filler between the serious business of full-length albums, but for this skillful UK band A Shadow of What Once Was represents a doorway to new visions, a fresh opportunity to explore and create something vital, alive and utterly essential, depicting a time when the primeval forest swathed their homeland in arboreal splendor.

Best moments of the album: A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.2.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Clobber Records

Track listing
1. A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.1 5:22
2. A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.2 5:44
3. Coming To An End 7:04

Band members
Nick – vocals, guitars
Jack – guitars
Reece – bass
Will – keyboards
Matt – drums

Album Review – Wolvencrown / Of Bark And Ash (2019)

Close your eyes and enjoy this excellent album of Atmospheric Black Metal made in the UK, blending the obscurity and melodies of extreme music with Nature and the emotions she conveys.

From the heart of the Midlands, the central part of England, more specifically from the city of Nottingham, comes an Atmospheric Black Metal quintet that goes by the stylish name of Wolvencrown, blending the obscurity and melodies of Black Metal with Nature and the emotions she conveys, therefore being highly recommended for admirers of the music by bands like Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Fen. Formed in 2015, the band now comprised of Nick on vocals and guitar, Jack also on the guitar, Reece on bass, Will on keyboards and Matt on drums is unleashing upon us their first full-length opus entitled Of Bark And Ash, following the naturalistic and atmospheric path of melodies and feelings of longing and yearning of their 2017 self-titled debut EP, being packed with stunning riffs, inspiring passages and enfolding keyboards, turning it into a must-listen for anyone who enjoys the absolute heaviness of extreme music spiced up by an embracing atmosphere.

The opening tune, titled Earths Eternal Dawn, sounds brutal and grim from the very first second, with the keys by Will adding a phantasmagorical touch to the band’s classic Black Metal while Matt provides us all we need to headbang like maniacs and Nick growls and gnarls in a truly devilish manner. After such classy welcome card, the band offers us an epic composition divided in two parts, starting with 1194 pt.I, exhaling intricacy, progressiveness and obscurity, with Nick and Jack slashing their axes beautifully. Furthermore, Matt’s beats and fills couldn’t have sounded more complex and violent, while Will’s keys once again bring a delicate balance to the overall result; whereas the second part, simply titled 1194 pt.II, is as grandiose and dense as part one, with Nick leading his horde with his anguished roars while the guitars sound absolutely pulverizing and sharper than a knife, living up to the legacy of both old school and more contemporary Black Metal and with its last part being an amazing, massive sonic havoc.

More rhythmic and atmospheric thanks to the outstanding job done by both Will and Matt, Infernal Throne presents Stygian vociferations by Nick that will penetrate deep inside your soul, while their riffs blacken our hearts mercilessly, and Wolvencrown keep hammering our heads and darkening the skies with their top-of-the-line Atmospheric Black Metal in  the title-track Of Bark and Ash, filled with folk and epic elements. Moreover, the beats by Matt are powerfully complemented by Reece’s thunderous bass lines, resulting in a full-bodied aria that’s at the same time an ode to darkness and Nature, which in the end obviously coexist in perfect harmony, not to mention Nick’s furious screams to make things even more intense and disturbing, just the way we like it in extreme music.

Leaning towards classic Atmospheric Black Metal, Towards Broken Depths mixes scorching riffs with ambient keys and blast beats, again bringing to our avid ears the demonic gnarls by Nick while Reece keeps the atmosphere as dense as possible with his bass lines. Then the cryptic keys by Will ignite the also furious and melodic Destined, perhaps the most epic of all tracks, with all instruments sounding austere and flammable throughout the entire song and with both Nick and Jack stealing the spotlight with their unstoppable riffage, whereas endless melancholy flows from the closing tune titled S.A.D., a lot more melodic and atmospheric than its predecessors while at the same time working as a grim “goodbye” or “farewell” by Wolvencrown, with the violent and harmonious sound of guitars crushing our minds in great fashion, ending in a contemplative and ethereal way.

You can enjoy this precious gem of underground extreme music in its entirety on YouTube, purchase your copy from the Avantgarde Music BandCamp page or from several other locations such as ImportCDs, Barnes & Noble, FYE and Sound Cave, and follow Wolvencrown on Facebook to stay up-to-date with everything related to their music and upcoming tour dates. Every single time our good old Black Metal is infused with the delicate but powerful sounds of Mother Earth, the final result is extremely pleasant to say the least, and Wolvencrown simply nailed it in Of Bark And Ash, showing once again how Atmospheric Black Metal is always the perfect choice for those times in your life where all you want to do is escape from your everyday life and dive deep into the wild.

Best moments of the album: 1194 pt.I, 1194 pt.II and Of Bark and Ash.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Earths Eternal Dawn 4:14
2. 1194 pt.I 4:54
3. 1194 pt.II 6:42
4. Infernal Throne 4:08
5. Of Bark and Ash 6:43
6. Towards Broken Depths 5:09
7. Destined 7:27
8. S.A.D. 5:46

Band members
Nick – vocals, guitars
Jack – guitars
Reece – bass
Will – keyboards
Matt – drums

The Walking Dead Review – Episode 402: Infected

The pigs might be gone, but at least our tough sheriff is back.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Infected yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

I cannot believe I didn’t see what was actually happening to Greg Patrick last espisode! I thought he had some previous disease and died of natural causes, just as many other people, but it was in fact a new deadly virus like Ebola or the swine flu, a brand new threat to the whole group because it doesn’t matter how you die, you become a walker. I’m sad Greg Patrick won’t be in the show anymore, but happy to know that because of what happened to him there will be even more drama and danger in every episode to the survivors.

twd402_01Last night’s episode, Infected, had a lot of questions without answers, action, tough decisions and intestines (a scene inspired by the movie Day of the Dead, from the zombie master George A. Romero, according to Greg Nicotero), a perfect combination for all TWD fans. There were so many questions left that I can’t wait for next week’s episode to answer some of them: is there really a traitor in the group, the person that was feeding rats to zombies? Or were just those two stupid girls feeding their friend “Nick” in a very innocent (and idiot) way? How long will the prison fence stand still and strong against the increasing number of walkers looking for human flesh (I saw Nicotero saying there will be over 7,500 zombies in the next episode)? Who’s infected by the deadly virus, and who’s not? Is there a cure? How will everybody be able to sleep, knowing anyone can die at any minute and become a zombie inside the prison? Who burned the bodies of the two people that were already infected? How will Tyreese react to the death of his love, and to the presumable death of his sister Sasha, who is also infected by the virus? As I sad, too many questions to be answered.

Then there were the tough decisions, most of them taken by Rick. It was sad seeing Rick throwing those poor little pigs to the zombies to protect the fence from falling down, but at least we got our good old sheriff back. No more farming, no more cropping, it’s time for some action! In my opinion, giving Carl’s gun back to the boy was the best decision he could make, especially because Carl is really good at shooting and can help saving many people. Moreover, how many lives has he already saved since he got his gun? As far as I can remember, he saved Rick, Michonne (a couple of times), his sister Judith, Maggie, among others. A boy with a gun will have serious consequences to the whole story, of course, probably most of them for good. And I’m pretty sure Carl will put on his sheriff hat back now, that little badass.

twd402_02The most touching scene in this episode was seeing Michonne crying when holding Judith in her arms. Why was she crying? Did she have a baby a couple of years ago? Did she lost a baby? Did walkers eat her baby? Another important question to be answered soon, I hope. Michonne is becoming more and more human, and less that tough super-woman from the previous season, but I don’t know how this can be good for the group. Well, I personally prefer her chopping zombie heads with her sword than carrying a baby, but the producers know what they are doing. And before I forget, it was nice seeing Beth singing I Don’t Want to Grow Up to Judith. I’m not a fan of Tom Waits, but I love The Ramones version. Lucky baby, anyway!

Stupid humans, thousands of walkers, a deadly virus, a decaying prison… What else can make their lives even more miserable and the show more interesting to us? Will there be any more surprises this season? And again, where the hell is the Governor? I guess when he returns he will kick some serious ass. It’s going to be totally brutal, and awesome.

Infected (FULL EPISODE)