After leaving behind its obvious MISFITS/SAMHAIN tribute work as DEVILS WHOREHOUSE and rechristening itself DEATH WOLF in 2011, the band got down to the business of – while maybe not entirely turning its back on its initial sound – creating its own persona, which has worked to varying degrees of success over the last three albums.
Now, roughly five years after III: Ostergotland, DEATH WOLF leaves behind Century Media, returning Blooddawn Productions to its original home under the Regain Records banner. ‘He Who Hates’ kicks things off, and I do mean kicks, hard-charging and menacing, easily the best opener on any DEATH WOLF album thus far, so much so that when it occasionally veers into a languid, loping gait, the attention is held instead of left to wander. I really want to like ‘Edge Of The Wood’, but from the start the main riff and chord progression actually subtly reminded me of moments of Leviathan-era MASTODON, and – though I love the fuck out of me some MASTODON – one should never think of an elephant when looking at a wolf. The same holds doubly true for listening.
‘Empower The Void’ is more of the same, continuing with the standard verse/chorus/verse style DEATH WOLF has employed thus far, yet, while the energy level is clearly spot on, I find myself already looking back fondly on ‘He Who Hates’, as it had just enough of a shift in dynamics to keep things from becoming rote. ‘The Sword’ follows, the slightest bit more varied than what’s come before; however, what’s come before is so by-the-numbers as to render this minor inflection just that, and ineffective. I could go song by song for the rest, but 1/3 of the way into IV: Come The Dark, let’s just say you should already have the lay of the land.
I’d really hoped for more, but what we’re left with here is the feeling that this album was written and recorded all within the same day. Good for cranking up the car stereo and speeding down the freeway…but so are certain DEF LEPPARD songs.
Review By: Lord Randall
IV: Come The Dark
2 / 6