Once in a blue moon (Or once in a full moon?)…or more like once every month or two comes an album that’s so out of my normal listening frequencies that just hits. Recently, albums from Lord Mantis and Cattle Decapitation wrecked my ears with collections of aural carnage that Werewolves looks to repeat with their latest here in 2021.
What A Time To Be Alive is sporadic, frenetic, fast, loud, and all around Heavy. For the uninitiated it’s a perfect jumping on point combining Thrash and Grind and Death Metal like the aforementioned Cattle Decapitation as well as old school Entombed, Dethklok’s ridiculous over-the-top yet righteous Metal and even some Flotsam And Jetsam with the way that Sam Bean emotes. For the more lycanthrope-friendly in the audience, What A Time To Be Alive is a surprising sophomore effort that exceeds expectations especially considering it arrives barely a year after their debut.
There is no opening track more brutal and intense in recent years, I think, than what Werewolves has come up with on What A Time To Be Alive and “I Don’t Like You”. Fast is an understatement. Heavy is an understatement. Hell, visceral is an understatement. Dave Haley’s drumming, from the opening onslaught through to the meticulous breakdown and then back to the blasting finale, is sublime while Bean brings to mind Jeff Walker and Matt Wilcock furiously shreds.
Firing on all cylinders, “Sublime Wartime Voyeurism” not only has the most kick ass moniker so far in the new year but is a crushing, cataclysmic descent into Metal hell (Or heaven depending on how you look at it…) with Bean growling maniacally as Wilcock’s razor-sharp riffage rips with Haley once again providing a stampeding stomp.
“Mission Statement” is almost like some of the greatest Industrial Metal put to Blast Beats coming at listeners like a mixture of Chaos A.D. Sepultura, Psalm 69 Ministry and early Misery Loves Co. and then “Crushgasm” continues the kick ass name song name trend but also kicks ass in the blistering, bludgeoning Metal trend.
“Unfathomably Fucked” offers four and a half minutes of straight shredding before leaping into this chunky, chugging breakdown that’s huge on Groove and a decidedly different vibe for Werewolves that’s a welcome sonic diversion. No matter your location, “Traitors And Bastards” is the one that will make you long for the days of mosh pits and colliding bodies with Wilcock’s massive guitar sound washing over all like a wave and Haley’s drumming echoing the sound of thousands of feet sprinting to be squished against that sweaty stage.
While penultimate puncher “A Plague On Your Houses” fits nicely within the What A Time To Be Alive framework, “They Will Pay With Their Own Blood” is an interesting outlier that closes Werewolves’ second stand out with a complex, brooding number that mostly dwells in a slower dirge-like atmosphere before a thrashy throttling concludes it all. What A Time To Be Alive indeed.
What A Time To Be Alive arrives on January 29th via Prosthetic Records. Pre-orders are available now and can be perused and purchased when you head here. For more on Werewolves, follow them across their socials by heading here, here, or here.
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