To Speak of Wolves – Dead in the Shadow
Released: July 21st, 2017
Gage Speas // Vocals
Phil Chamberlain // Drums
Seth Webster // Bass
Andrew Gaultier // Guitar
To Speak of Wolves Online
The first time I laid ears on To Speak of Wolves I was instantly hooked and it wasn’t until a bit of research later I discovered the band was formed by Phil Chamerlain who happens to be the brother of Spencer Chamberlain of Underoath fame. But despite this fact, both brothers have managed to evolve as musicians in their own way but (in my opinion) TSoW in many cases, comes off sounding far more brutal and heavier than the aforementioned and more established band. Phil’s band have undergone plenty of lineup changes over the years but all that aside, finally I have in my hands their latest offering, ready to review for you, so lets get into it…
‘Haunt Me‘ wastes no time in establishing a heavy and ferocious attack on your senses the minute it starts up the band thrusts you face first into an unclean William “Gage” Speas who screams his lungs out while Phil Chamberlain smashes away on his kit. The clean vocals are lost on this one however, could it have been better without them? Yeah! Do they add much to the song? Not really. The screams wind up the song and we immediately jump straight into ‘I Had To Let Go‘ which straight up combines rough riffs and a blend of clean/unclean vocals which sound much better this time around. Andrew Gaultier shines in this track which to me in some cases, sounds like early Every Time I Die. It’s definitely an indication that the spotlight is on Phil a lot of the time as his bashing stands out more so than some of the other instruments, I sense a bit of pressure for him to be able to put out material as good as his brother, but comparisons aside, he’s got a great group of musicians beside him to help make that happen. ‘Scapeson‘ flows on with sheer, heavy as fuck force (especially halfway through) which almost leaves the metalcore genre and touches on a softer deathcore style if you will. I could be wrong with that statement but fuck it’s heavy and only gets better towards the climax of the song.
‘Enemies to Everyone‘ slowly leads into itself with an almost industrial ambient backing sound that evolves into a perfect throw down song with slow parts to catch your breath during the clean vocals which also double as a sing-a-long section for fans. Immediately after the clean chorus, the unclean screaming sounds too distant and unclear. At first I thought it was my hearing but upon second listen, the issue is there and it kinda lets the song down for a brief for seconds as I tried to understand what was being said/sung/screamed. ‘Deathbed Crimes‘ keeps the ferociousness flowing in what can only be described as the band’s fast, circle pit song, ‘Adrift Again‘ is an instrumental halfway marker which slowly leads you into ‘The Impaler‘ and it’s opening screams that grab you by the head and forcefully intrude your unsuspecting ears. With a back and forth of unclean screams, unclean growls and clean vocals this is a great experience for those who enjoy all the different levels of the metalcore genre and all it has to offer. Combined with a brutal soundtrack to support it, this is definitely the best track of the album so far. The pace starts to slow down towards the end of it which sets up how the next song ‘Braided Bay‘ will begin. Slowly easing it’s way, Phil’s drumming takes centre stage again as Seth Webster sits close beside him with a bass line that gets your attention and (hopefully) body moving along in time.
‘Ashes Over My Eyes‘ tricks you into thinking you’re about to sit through another slow one and just as you get comfortable, bang! The mood and tempo increase by 200% and we’re back to that heavy as fuck vibe from earlier. That carries on into ‘Touch‘ as we make our way towards the album’s climax and it’s great to hear the band keeping up the heaviness for the majority of this release, if you haven’t smashed holes in your walls while listening to this one, did you really listen to it? Most bands tend to put their lesser impressive songs towards the end of the album which really ruins the whole build up towards the finish, that isn’t the case with this song, breakdowns, aggressive growls and riff city are what it’s all about and it’s a perfect way to take us to the last song ‘I Am The Shovel I Am The Gave‘ which begins with what I can only explain as something you’d hear in an old school Western movie, as the cowboy protagonist makes his way into a unknown town. I was worried this one would let down the album but it actually works well as a finale and leaving song if you will. The song fades out and we say farewell to the band and their latest offering…
So there we have it, a fantastic array of heavy, brutality and a surprise twist for fans of the metalcore act, I think it’s time we stop comparing To Speak of Wolves to Underoath as they are two completely different bands, offering their own unique style to their followings, but if you’re more inclined to sway towards the more hard hitting, in your face style, this is the band for you.
To Speak of Wolves – Dead in the Shadow tracklisting
- Haunt Me
- I Had To Let Go
- Enemies To Everyone
- Deathbed Chimes
- Adrift Again
- The Impaler
- Braided Bay
- Ashes Over My Eyes
- I Am The Shovel I Am The Grave