There’s a throwback feel to German five-piece Wolf Down, not only in their highly politicised left-wing brand of hardcore, but also in the heavy thrash influence underpinning their intense shredding. They tackle a number of issues like animal rights, the environment and abuse of power; so it’s lyrically, as well as musically, powerful.
The introduction soon gives way to the visceral attack of ‘Against The Grain’, with its machine gun riffing, setting the tone for the rest of the record. Stylistically there is a strong hint of Max Cavalera era Sepultura, but the comparison is a compliment as the Germans proceed to pummel the ear drums with their well-executed eyebrow burning thrashcore riffs.
On ‘Protect/Preserve’ it’s easy to picture a heaving mosh pit as the riffage ebbs and flows, while ‘Invisible War’ starts out like a straight ahead, “rip your throat out” headbanger that descends into a chugger, before kicking off big time in time honoured hardcore style; it’s exhilarating stuff.
There is a pattern of thrashy openings before slowing to a grind which proves effective but overused, ‘At Daggers Drawn’ being a prime example. Although it’s no bad thing, it would be nice to see more varied arrangements, like on ‘True Deceivers’ with its interesting time-changes and finale of easy strumming. This leads into ‘Torch of Reason’ which is “taking the fight to a whole new level”, though it thrashes around on a similar level to the rest of the record, but again, no bad thing.
‘Conspire’, featuring Jesse Barnett (Stick To Your Guns), shows off the band’s love of a good hard bass riff, as does closer ‘The Fortress’ which provides a fitting finale; the chunky bass leading into heavy-assed riffs that build to an epically heavy mid-section and a sample of Woody Guthrie’s ‘All You Fascists Bound to Lose’, genius!
This is a strong second album from Wolf Down with a great deal of substance both politically and riffwise, they’re sure to give STYG, Stray From The Path and Counterparts a run for their money on tour this week.
‘Incite & Conspire’ by Wolf Down is released on February 26th on End Hits Records
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)