|Release Date||11 Jan 2019|
For reasons that are far beyond my understanding, Wolfhorde has already reinvented their sound in their second full-length album, Hounds of Perdition. Their first album blew my fucking mind. Each song had unique character and the almost-melodic-death sound was only improved by the folk additions. It’s typical for a band to take what was good from their first release and substitute the rest to create a more refined sound, but to almost abandon their essence and flip ass-backwards is a risky move.
Not that this album is bad (it’s great, actually), the first was just so much better.
With the exception of a handful of parts, the traditional folk instruments have been mostly abandoned and replaced with various keyboard parts: mainly bright-toned piano and strings here and there. The whole change ends up sounding more Nightwishy (see ‘Black Song’) than anything else.
Aside from the instrument swaps, there is a new inclusion of clean vocals that was never there before, making for probably a fifty-fifty split between the clean and rough. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just another step into new territory. Despite all of this, an album can’t really be judged solely on how it measures up to the rest of the discography. On its own, Hounds of Perdition is a really solid album.
The opening track, ‘Chimera’, is the high point for me. The traditional instruments are stronger here than in the rest of the album and a lot of variety is packed into it’s ten minutes while still maintaining that Wolfhorde spirit. There are some terrific instrumental breaks in ‘Towers of Silence, as well as a tasty guitar solo. ‘Kill the Light’ is basically straight power metal, but a decent track nonetheless. I wouldn’t consider any song on the album even remotely bad.
Drummer (and vocalist) Hukkapätkä is my favourite feature of the album. He switches beats a hundred times per song and is all over the god damn place in the best of ways; he’ll bust out a nasty blast beat on the turn of a dime and then back right off to blend with the rest of the band, before unleashing another flurry of fills and pounding shots.
Hounds of Perdition has a more mainstream sound than its predecessor, with the exception of the first and last tracks. It’s still hard and heavy and contains tons of variety, but the song structure also seems to have changed with instrumentation. This album is awesome, but it is beneath Wolfhorde’s capabilities.