Wolverine - Still

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Candlelight
Catalog Number: CANDLE146CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

If anyone has wondered where the emotional, cohesive musical structures of Parallels-era Fates Warning and the darkness of Evergrey have gone, they, in fact, gone to and stayed in Sweden and attached themselves to Wolverine, perhaps currently the best prog metal band from that country. With their fourth studio album entitled Still, all of the elements they have hinted at in their previous releases have come to fruition in this emotional and dark collection of songs that reflect the darkness of the human soul. More than anything, Wolverine has shown dark and evil themes in music do not have to be accompanied by incessant screaming or constant death growls.

On the opening track, "A House Of Plague," the band throws down its progressive gauntlet in rather melodic fashion with its haunting, mid-tempo guitar/keyboard combination and some Empire-like Queensrÿchian vocal lines and chorus. This first song makes a bold statement about who the band is and what they stand for and is barely indicative of what's to come. They follow up with the second track, "Bleeding," which follows a different structure based on the multi layered vocals of Stefan Zell and is considerably more somber. The remainder of the album is filled with dynamic performances, both soft and heavy and equally emotive and moving. The standout song, though not my favorite, is "Sleepy Town," which has a distinct Depeche Mode or Cure feel to it.

While this is, without doubt, a complete band and a combined effort from all members, this music is a perfect vehicle for Stefan Zell's vocals to shine. Much more than his clarity, pitch and tone, which are all superb, it's his sincerity that hits the hardest. With each word and with each note you feel the songs progress through the emotional valleys and peaks with his heartfelt and intensely personal performance. Guitarist Mikael Zell, not to be outdone by his brother, turns in an equally emotional performance with the varying themes and styles within Still. His ability to switch from heavy riffs to acoustic passages reminds one of Opeth and maybe Sieges Even, but on a more stable level. The flow of the songs is never broken by harsh time or key changes. Each track flows seamlessly and perfectly aided by new keyboardist Per Henriksson. While he shouldn't be called an atmospheric keyboard player, he does meld into the mix and provide an ambience without becoming a distraction. This is a lost keyboard art. He also adds some elegantly haunting piano accompaniment that accents lyrics and songs perfectly.

With Still, Wolverine has firmly established itself among the industry's elite even if their worldwide exposure does not reflect this. They have managed to harness influences of some of the genre's greatest ever bands and turn them into their own unique sound and style and, in some instances, improve upon the original source material. The feelings you take away from Still are lasting and genuine. Many bands will attempt this kind of album and almost always will come up with something nothing more than superficial. Wolverine, however, penetrates the heart and mind and clutches the soul with its intimacy and passion. They have proven that sometimes the darkness can be beautiful.

A House Of Plague / Bleeding / Taste Of Sand / Nothing More / Sleepy Town / Liar On The Mount / Hiding / This Cold Heart Of Mine / And She Slowly Dies

Stefan Zell - vocals
Marcus Losbjer - drums & growls
Mikael Zell - guitar
Thomas Jansson - bass
Andreas Baglien - keyboard

Fervent Dream (1999)
The Window Purpose (2001)
Cold Light Of Monday (2003)
Still (2006)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: May 29th 2006
Reviewer: Scott Pierce

Artist website: www.wolverine-overdose.com
Hits: 1050
Language: english


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