Alpha Wolf – A Quiet Place To Die (Album Review)

Alpha Wolf – A Quiet Place To Die
Released: September 25th, 2020

Lineup:

Lochie Keogh // Vocals
Mitch Fogarty // Drums
Sabian Lynch // Rhythm Guitar
Scott Simpson // Lead Guitar
John Arnold // Bass Guitar

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Exploding out of the local heavy music community and on to playlists all over the globe with their previous release Fault (our review here), all eyes are on Alpha Wolf as their sophomore album hits the ears of fans in the near future. After enduring the whirlwind effects that COVID-19 has had on the music industry on a worldwide scale, the group are back in the spotlight as the anticipation for their new record grows by the second.

Kicking off the LP is title track ‘A Quiet Place To Die’, which begins with an eerie, atmospheric sound before a heavy guitar riff kicks in. Hard-hitting drums and Lochie Keogh‘s incredible mid-range vocals screaming, ‘I can’t find a quiet place to die’ among other lyrics makes this introduction stronger than steel. At first listen I barely made it to the end of the song as this exuberant album intro had me overly excited to hear what else this album had to offer. The fast-paced introduction of ‘Creep’ had me on the edge of my seat when I initially listened to the song. The track’s tempo or style doesn’t seem to fluctuate all that much, but I find that in this particular example, consistency is critical, as it works beautifully. Lochie’s lyrics before the breakdown, ‘Stone cold, keep your composure. Sleep with one eye open’ adds tremendous depth the tracks ending.

Continuing with a trend that was created in the bands Mono era with a title that speaks volumes to the residents of Alpha Wolf‘s home city of Melbourne right now, is ‘Golden Fate; Isolate’. Similarly to the previous song, tempo fluctuation is seemingly non-existent, which doesn’t take away from the quality of the music. Among the shredding guitars and Mitch’s strong drum presence is the lyrical message of how isolation takes us into grief, examples of this are, ‘Did you know this would fuck me up?” and “Where was my fucking goodbye?’, which couldn’t seem more relevant at this moment in time. The album’s first single to be released ‘Akudama’ appeared to be a hit among fans as it gathered an abundance of praise. I can already vividly imagine the opening lyrics, ‘watch the bodies drop’ being screamed from audiences in packed venues for years to come, a moment I’m sure all of us are ready to experience. The drums seem to be the songs strongest aspect as the guitars build around them. This is not to discredit the guitarists in any way, the riffs are compelling, particularly during the breakdown, which is superbly lead to by the lyrics, ‘Say my fucking name, A-KU-DA-MA’, which is mosh inducing to say the least.

‘Acid Romance’ has arguably the heaviest introduction out of all songs on this release, the guitarists manage to have me in awe with their thumping riffs as they guide the pace for vocalist Lochie as he screams, ‘What have I done? Looking for love down the barrel of a loaded gun’. With regular changes in time signatures, it’s hard to gauge which direction the song will go in any moment, which makes space to continuously remain pleasantly surprised throughout the duration of the song. This song also explores new elements of the bands sound which skims the nu-metal genre. A pause from the instrumentals doesn’t last long as they come roaring back to finish the track with one of the albums finest breakdowns. The LP continues its high-intensity fast pace with ‘Rot In Pieces’ as the piece begins with dominant drumming on Mitch Fogarty‘s behalf. For the most part, the song doesn’t fluctuate at all; its consistency is a strong point; the riffs in this song are far too good to cut short. Lyrics such as, ‘I hope you’re buried without a eulogy to send you, I feel sick whenever I think about you’ sends a powerful message. The abrupt change in time signatures at the end leaves room for what is this group’s strongest assets, a mind-blowing breakdown.

Slowing the tempo down dramatically, ‘Bleed 4 You’ creates a tremendous amount of diversity for the record. At first listen, I felt underwhelmed by this song; however, it has grown on me immensely. This track is clear proof that this band is not a group of single skilled specialists as vocalist Lochie shows of his range with higher-pitched singing which I feel is reminiscent of the late Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. The unstrained ebbs and flows of the instrumentals creates an enjoyable listening experience even for those who enjoy the heavier sub-genres, like myself. A guest appearance from labelmate Lizi Blanco from The Beautiful Monument for this song is the cherry on top that we didn’t know we needed. Kicking the tempo back into fifth gear, ‘Ultra-Violet Violence’ takes us straight back to AW‘s heavy roots, this song is raw which works in the band’s favour. Ultimately the entire song eludes to the albums heaviest breakdown, which is when you will find yourself accidentally spin kicking your pet, so make sure sure you put them in another room first. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Alpha Wolf remains devoted to their heavier elements in ‘The Minds Bends To A Will Of It’s Own’, which keeps the album fresh. New ideas and experimentation are what seems to be the method behind the madness with this record, and it works beautifully. The consistent blast beats from drummer Mitch carries the weight of the songs heavy delivery. I find Lochie Keogh to be a fantastic mid-range vocalist whose voice flows with the instrumentals, rather than just screaming on top of them and this song is a prime example of that. The next track, ‘Restricted (R18+)’ is one for the adults and after listening, it’s no shock why. I don’t think the undeveloped mind of an underage person could handle something this mind-blowingly heavy and unpredictable. The thumping guitars overlayed with electronic samples works amazingly. No matter how hard I try, I cannot fault this song, with the highlight being strong breakdown at the outro of the song, which is inclusive of the lyrics, ‘If I were you I’d want to kill myself too’. This breakdown has been perfected; it sends literal shivers down my spine each time I hear it.

The album finishes with ‘Don’t Ask…’ which slows thing down once again. This piece is an excellent nod to what the band did with ‘Bleed 4 You’, it is slow, with a powerful message, which seems to wrap the entire album in a nice little bow.

To be frank, I lost a certain level of faith in the band when they released Fault. I felt as if they had become just another generic metalcore band with very little diversity. Alpha Wolf has regained my love with this album; it is new and exciting with no two songs sounding the same. This is one of those albums I can happily listen to from start to finish without wanting to skip a song. I anticipate the band will reach new heights once fans all over the world listen to this record.

Alpha Wolf – A Quiet Place To Die tracklisting:

  1. A Quiet Place To Die
  2. Creep
  3. Golden Fate; Isolate
  4. Akudama
  5. Acid Romance
  6. Rot In Pieces
  7. Bleed 4 You
  8. Ultra-Violent Violence
  9. The Mind Bends To A Will Of It’s Own
  10. Restricted (18+)
  11. Don’t Ask…

Rating: 9/10
A Quiet Place To Die is out Friday through Greyscale Records. Pre-order here
Review by Adam Rice

About Ricey (33 Articles)
A young music enthusiast who dives into a world created by an artist then returns to reality to express what he experienced in writing.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Scott Simpson & Mitch Fogarty – Alpha Wolf ‘The Best Versions Of Ourselves – Wall Of Sound
  2. Alpha Wolf Announce COVID Strategic 2021 Australian Tour – Wall Of Sound

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