Company: Indy Release: 2008 Genre: Black Reviewer: Raising Iron
A ton of promise
Wolfgate, a self-described symphonic black metal band from LA, have recently recorded their first demo, Howling Lament; with obvious intentions of getting picked up by a label, as this is a first class production when it comes to the sound of the recording itself. The tag symphonic is a bit of a misnomer; although there are keyboards present, they are typically augmenting the melodies rather than driving larger chordal movements ala Dimmu Borgir in recent years. Derivations of early Emperor jump immediately to the fore when listening to this, and given that bands cred, that’s not a bad thing. There’s not much wrong with the five songs (plus an intro) here; full throttle black metal, vocals alternating between traditional high-pitched screeches and lower growls, and jackhammer drumming meant to pummel your soul into the netherworld. As stated earlier, the production is quite clear, with only the music smothering the listener (as is wont of the genre), instead of the claustrophobic engineerings typical of this style from well over a decade ago now. I guess the biggest complaint that could possibly be levied toward them is the appearance of being a band of Johnny-come-latelys. There’s nothing here terribly new or innovative, and the stated goal of being symphonic black metal is already suffering a bit of a backlash from fans, but the writing and playing is so damn proficient they may well be able to make a (black!)mark upon the given genre despite that fact. Here’s hoping they can secure a deal to record or simply fund their own full-length soon, as they definitely show a ton of promise.