Review 1356 : Wolfheart – King of the North – English

Logo Wolfheart

Wolfheart is still standing.

Since its creation in 2013 as a solo project by Tuomas Saukkonen (guitar/vocals, Before the Dawn, Dawn of Solace, ex-Black Sun Aeon…), the band has evolved well. In 2015, the leader of the pack decided to recruit musicians, and now Lauri Silvonen (bass/vocals, Bloodred Hourglass), Joonas Kauppinen (drums, Disease of the Nation, ex-Before the Dawn) and Vagelis Karzis (guitar, Full House Brew Crew, ex-Rotting Christ live) are alongside him for the release of King of the North, on Napalm Records.

A melancholy keyboard opens the album to introduce Skyforger, the first and longest of the nine tracks which builds itself with the arrival of saturation. The haunting leads are easily coupled with backing vocals and the slow rhythm, which eventually explodes and welcomes massive vocal parts. Clean vocals find their place on a simple and majestic rhythmic duet, letting the coldest sounds announce the arrival of rage, but aggressiveness will give way to Ancestor, a very straightforward and effective track. Jesse Leach (Killwsitch Engage) joins the four musicians for some melodious clean vocals before screams resurface under fast and sharp riffs, then Knell offers us a moment of respite before letting saturation crush us. The massive rhythmic once again gives way to a rich and interesting vocal duet, but also to heady leads before Desolated Land comes to rage with more Old School roots. Clean vocals are also more intense, reinforcing the majestic flights of those impressive riffs, which will give birth to The King, a catchy track which also lets the new guitarist offer diversified and interesting vocal parts. The track is a bit of a departure from what one would expect from the band, but Cold Flames returns to the brutal and airy roots we’ve been enjoying for almost a decade now while welcoming Karl Sanders (Nile) for some massive vocal parts which perfectly match the band’s ice-cold and energetic mix. Headstones go back to the softer, haunting sounds on which we can imagine some snowflakes falling under the orchestrations before being swept away by blast beat, then Fires of the Fallen calls upon its more aggressive influences to unveil some lively riffs. Epic orchestrations will also be found to create an imposing contrast with the violence which will gradually fade away to give way to Eternal Slumber, the last track, which will put the final touch with a heavy progression. Riffs will explode after this intense introduction, allowing musicians to develop their universe between aggressiveness and enchanting melodies, but also a very contrasted vocal duo.

For almost ten years now, Wolfheart has been in constant evolution. Without ever denying the icy winter roots of their Melodic Death Metal, the band ventures off the beaten track with King of the North, leaving more room for clean vocals and orchestrations.


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