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| 22 November 2019 | Reply

Label: Eleven Seven Music

Release Date: October 25, 2019

Rating: 95%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Bad Wolves took the music world by storm with a killer cover of The Cranberries “Zombie” on their debut release, but if you only looked that deep into the disc, shame on you.  With a couple singles from this one also garnering attention, you need to dig deep into this sophomore effort to really hear the band.  Lead single “I’ll Be There” kicks this one off and it sets the bar for the disc sonically.  Musically the song is tight, with killer riffs and churning guitars swirled with a heavy handed bottom end and some powerful vocals from frontman Tommy Vext.  The transition into the chorus hits hard and allows Vext to reveal both his modern rock scream-style vocals and his rock singing – the dude has some solid vocal chops!  “No Messiah” follows and keeps the rock quotient high.  The vocals are great and emotive, while the guitars work to keep the melody alive and popping atop the solid foundation from the bass and drums.  The second single from the disc, “Killing Me Slowly,” has a little more relaxed vibe to it that makes itself VERY radio friendly and lets the band demonstrate not only how tight they are as a unit, but also how adept each guy is with his collective instrument.  The drums from John Boecklin are solid and Kyle Konkiel’s bass perfectly anchors the track.  This one features one of my favorite Vext vocals on the disc.  “Foe Or Friend” is one of the heavier tracks on  the disc and show Tommy flexing his metal vocals.  This song is heavy on the modern rock scream vocal.  While this may not hit the radio waves, I can envision heads banging and fists pumping all over a venue should this one hit the bands setlist during their current tour run.  On “Back In The Days,” the guitar tandem of lead player Doc Coyle and rhythm guitarist Chris Cain are the real star of this track.  While Vext leads the track with cool vocals and the rhythm section keeps this track from running away with itself, the churning guitar riffs give this song a cool vibe.  Like a lot of track on this collection, be sure to check out the guitar work on the bridge, which also features some cool percussion.  “Heaven So Heartless” is another favorite on the disc that really benefits from Tommy’s lead vocal… if he were to ditch the scream he uses, he would still be a killer vocalist.  This song demonstrates some of his range that has eluded us thus far.  The guitars are layered perfectly in the mix along with the solid bottom end from the rhythm section.

“Learn To Walk Again” kicks off with a heavier vibe, but transitions nicely and is well within what is expected and desired from this band.  The guitar work from Coyle and Cain provides a solid backbone for the track musically.  The solo from Doc at the bridge is one of my favorites on the disc, as it is filled with killer pings and squeals that take me back to some of my favorite guitar pieces from the 80’s.  “Better Off This Way” unfolds slowly and features Vext and Coyle in an amazing vocal / guitar duet on the intro the builds moment by moment, allowing the rest of the band to join the fray.  While potentially too mellow for fans of heavier and harder rock, this song is how I envision modern ‘monster ballads’ should sound.  The vocals are great, the guitars pack a punch without overpowering, and the lyrics are emotionally poignant.  “Sober” is another favorite on the disc, thanks to another great vocal line that blends perfectly with the guitars and rhythm section.  While the band may not be known for their ‘softer’ side, make no mistake – they do this as well as anyone else in the rock world right now.  Be sure to hang out and check Coyle’s solo and the songs key change and transition near the end.  This would definitely be a lighter in the air moment live.  “The Consumerist” features some cool heavy handed drums from Boecklin and thunderous bass lines from Konkiel blended into the mix along with some of the heaviest Vext vocals on the disc.  The guitars are sprinkled across the track completing the songs recipe.  “Crying Game” helps wind us toward the end of the disc and does so with style.  The melody of this track drew me in immediately and kept me engaged from first note to last.  The guitars are great on this track and compliment the vocals perfectly and take the spotlight when Doc Coyle leaves it all out there on the solo at the bridge; the guy shreds without playing a million notes so fast you cannot enjoy them.  Disc closer “LA Song” has a different vibe woven through it from open to close, but it fits within the parameter of the disc.  The vocals and tempo of the song are heavy and chaotic at times, but reels in Vext’s vocals and the rhythm section at the chorus.  This one takes a moment to tie together some of the heavier moments of the disc and some of the modern rock radio moments, giving us a good representation of the harder side of the band.  I cannot wait to experience some of these tracks alongside others from their debut when I check them out with Five Finger Death Punch and Three Days Grace next month.

Tracklisting: I’ll Be There – No Messiah – Learn To Walk Again – Killing Me Slowly – Better Off This Way – Foe Or Friend – Sober – Back In The Days – The Consumerist – Heaven So Heartless – Crying Game – LA Song

Band Line-up: Tommy Vext (vocals) – Doc Coyle (lead guitar) – Chris Cain (rhythm guitar) – Kyle Konkiel (bass) – John Boecklin (drums)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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