Thursday, September 3, 2015

Show Me Wolves - Between Man, God and False Idols

It would be hard to argue that Show Me Wolves’ debut album Between Man, God And False Idols is anything other than well performed, professionally produced, and thoughtfully composed. Still, this album just doesn’t do it for me. Hörður Lúðvíksson’s solo project mixes elements of hardcore with metal, and adds in a progressive flair that makes the project sound somewhat in the vein of bands like Ludicra. Naturally, the vocals follow along with this and are rather intelligible, pushing a lot of air, and relatively light on the rasp. It’s a vocal style that I generally hate, and this album unfortunately isn’t an exception. On the other hand, if you are really into the vocals, I imagine that their execution is about as enjoyable as the rest of the album.

Unlike a lot of the post-”xyz”styled band’s out there, Show Me Wolves has an interestingly dynamic flair. This also ties into the album’s strong and intricate composition. For example, you’ll see how the closing track “From Ice to Fire” balances out a bouncy melody with furious tremolo picking. Similarly, in the intro track, the wandering bass line is balanced out by the triplet motif. It all works together nice and orderly, and is also well polished. But, you could also say it’s polite and sterile because of the hyper modern solid-state guitar tone; and how the album manages to be proggy without having any musical surprises. Sometimes, a call and response interplay leaves you thinking once again “that’s nice, I guess.” Overall, the album is a mixed bag.

Despite not being a fan of the main vocal style, the cleans on “Sea of Trees” and even the pitchy vocals on “Unknown Reflection” work much better and are sprinkled in just enough to be interesting without becoming overbearing. The groovier sections are also decent enough, never overindulging in chugging (or other pitfalls you might expect in this kind of a mix). One highlight that really could have used more emphasis are the impressive guitar solos. Rather than just harmonizing the entire way through, the leads sometimes end up playing diverging lines. This makes the leads a lot more interesting. He’s definitely got the chops for some additional shredding, and the music lends itself to lead sections, so hopefully this will be a focal point in the future.

I’d recommend this to anyone who is into “post” stuff that is looking for something more dynamic and aggressive. (Hörður Lúðvíksson also plays guitar in Offerings, where he shares guitar duty with Benedikt of Azoic, whom CT interviewed here )

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