Review by Shannon Shumaker
If there is one word that can easily describe Wolves At The Gate’s sophomore album, VxV it would be epic. From the explosive beginning of the second song on the album, “Wake Up” to slower songs like “East To West” all the way to memorable final track “The Father’s Bargain,” VxV grabs you tight and doesn’t let go. To put it simply, this album is a journey.
In a music scene where most bands are either all doing the same thing or trying too hard to be different, it seems that Wolves At The Gate are doing neither of those, and it works. It gives this group of musicians a chance to really showcase their talents without having to try to fit into a mold and, as a listener, I’m grateful for that. It’s beyond refreshing to begin listening to a song expecting one thing and receiving not only that but more, and the second track on VxV did exactly that for me. “Wake Up,” from the very beginning, is an explosive track. It’s a song that really hits you in the face and gets your attention, and just when you think it can’t get any better, the clean vocals come in and mix with the screams and add a whole new dimension to an already phenomenal song. And by the time that “Wake Up” fades out into “Return” I am sold. There are so many different vocal styles, not to mention so many different things going on musically in this track that I could honestly write this entire review about it. But then again, that wouldn’t be fair to the other ten amazing tracks on VxV.
One of the best things about this album is its diversity. Because while VxV starts off raw and fast and hard hitting with some songs on the album sounding very reminiscent of Underoath, (see “Return” and “Wild Heart”) other songs like “The Bird And The Snake” come along with a feel very similar to Thrice and really turn things around with something entirely new. The clean vocals on “The Bird And The Snake,” as well as “Dust To Dust” and “East To West,” just to name a few, are such a pleasant surprise, that I actually had to hit repeat on these tracks on my first time listening to this album just because I was so blown away by the incredible and somewhat haunting songwriting on these tracks. Both the clean and unclean vocal styles blend so well with each other and the music that, by the end of the album, I was honestly left wanting even more. There really isn’t one weak track on this entire record - they all seem to have a purpose and they all keep your attention from start to finish.
There are just some albums that, upon hearing for the first time, you can’t help but want to see performed live, and VxV is one of them. Wolves At The Gate have absolutely mastered their sophomore album and, without a doubt, VxV is going to make this group of talented musicians a staple in the post-hardcore scene.
Listen to "Wake Up"