Album Review: The Blackout – Wolves EP

imageMerthyr Tydfil’s finest The Blackout are back with new EP ‘Wolves’, a short, sharp blast to remind us why, against all likelihood, they’ve outlasted nearly all their peers and compatriots.

Although the five piece haven’t wavered one iota in changing their sound, given that this EP was fan funded, that was always highly unlikely. ‘Wolves’ is five tracks of The Blackout’s vintage tried and tested screamo, pop-punk with a dash of hard-rock blend. While it might not be the band pushing themselves musically, it’s hard to deny that the EP is riotously good fun.

Opener and title track ‘Wolves’ positively resonates with the band’s trademark swagger and snarling panache. Boisterous stop-star guitar chords give life and energy to the familiar hooky vocal exchanges we’ve been hearing from frontmen Gavin Butler and Sean Smith for years. With this particular hook bordering on the infuriatingly catchy.

Things continue in a similar vein on ‘Liars’ although with the tempo noticeably increased with some prominent angular riffs and Smith’s snarl given more room to let rip. Although, as with many of the band’s songs, it’s when the chorus drops and the power and presence of Butler’s superb vocals take over that things really shine.

‘Pieces’ proves to be by far the EP’s standout track. Exploding into life with well nailed intricate guitar riffs and Smith showing his too often hidden clean vocal talents. The chorus then gets rather massive with some very impressive and hard hitting harmony work between Butler and Smith.

Up next is ‘Hold On’, a typical Blackout fist pumping number, heavy bouncing guitars duel for attention with Smith doing a damned good job of trying to shred his vocal chords, before another back and forth vocal chorus.

The EP finishes in a fiery, riotous fashion with ‘Chains’, beginning with a storming breakdown that only occasionally relents to give Butler room to belt out another fantastic vocal performance that adds genuine scale and a touch of melody to the chaos.

Overall a slightly predictable but emphatic and not unwelcome reminder of the good natured six man riot The Blackout can be when they let loose. ‘Wolves’ nicely fills the gap before their next album, but the boys from the valleys may want to push the boundaries a little more on the next full length or run the risk of sounding stale and unadventurous.


‘Wolves’ by The Blackout is out now.

The Blackout links:

Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)


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