Having already released two albums showing great promise, Wolvhammer nail it with their third try. No matter how brutal and awe inspiring Black Marketeers of World War III and The Obsidian Plains were, Clawing Into Black Sun stands in a league of its own. It might just be the case that the band took their time for this one, since it has been about three years since Obsidian Plains came out and the new album sounds much more inspired, thorough and has more depth than their previous releases.
Everything glues together perfectly, from the opening song “The Silver Key” that much is obvious. The guitar leads that Jeff Wilson unleashes over the sludge theme of Wolvhammer do not miss, and as the track progresses it reveals all the sickening faces of the band. From the black metal outbreaks and the sludge heaviness to the punkish vibe and the almost sentimental middle part, the band retains their energy and feeling throughout these transitions.
Still, Wolvhammer even tops that, with the title track reaching a whole other level of aggression with its initial huge riffs and mid-tempo groove giving way to the punk core of the band. Of similar attitude is “Slaves to the Grime,” which can almost be described as a black n roll feast. At least for most of its duration, since it contains a few very interesting bits of sonic experimentation and a truly insane ending to top it all off. On the other hand, Wolvhammer have instances when they just let all of their sludge self take over completely, as is the case with “In Reverence,” reaching a heaviness of epic proportions. That is of course until they retreat once more to their primal punk selves and annihilate everything in their path.
Then there are those moments in the album when you are taken completely aback by what the band can achieve. And that is where Wolvhammer truly thrive. Take “Death Division” for instance, one of the strongest songs of the album, which kicks off with an almost death/thrash part, but soon transforms into something much darker and more sinister. The mid-tempo groove is beyond description, with the part being heavily influenced by the early works of Celtic Frost, and then coming up with one of the most grim and unearthly end parts I have heard in a while. The drums slow down, the guitar continuously unleashing sorrowful melodies on top of the heavier riffs and Adam Clemans screaming at the top of his lungs, creating one of the most ominous moments of Clawing Into Black Sun. A similar bleak feeling is spread all over “The Desanctification” with the eerie black metal leads leaving a bitter aftertaste, before the second part of the song brings in one of the most ravaging moments of the album.
And after all that, Wolvhammer still have not reached the peak of the album. “A Light That Doesn’t Yield” shows a quite different face of the band. With Wolvhammer bringing forth a doom/black nine minute long opus, standing out for its diversity and for its emotion. The band even includes some clean vocals in this one, making it the grandest moment of Clawing Into Black Sun. And that is just for the first half of the track, because from after five minutes in, Wolvhammer initialize an unbelievable build up that keeps making things more and more intense. The song reaches a devastating peak that lasts for a few seconds before they let the song blend into nothingness and close the album.
The easy way to describe Wolvhammer is to call them a blackened sludge band, but the way they have crafted Clawing Into Black Sun with all its twists and turns, shows that they are much more than just that. Doom moments, punk vibe and amazing guitar work really make this album great, and their best so far.
9.0 / 10
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