Featuring members of Bisonhammer, Ten Foot Wizard and Soma Dark among others, Wolfcrusher have unleashed their debut album “Virgin Tapestry” on the public through Casket Records. The Manchester band have recently built up a good following from their previous bands as well as some decent support slots including Evile earlier this year.
Opener ‘Reborn’ combines both a massively heavy riff with the kind of chorus that is almost guaranteed to stick around in your head for the rest of the day. ‘Lost At Sea’ sounds like the bastard child of Clutch and Raging Speedhorn, perfectly balanced with elements of both bands. ‘Skeletonizer’ again highlights the talent Wolfcrusher have for mixing it up and bringing different influences together. Either side of a short sung section, this song brings to mind the legendary Iron Monkey with its slow, heavily distorted riffs and vocalist Gary Harkin’s almost Morrow-esque efforts.
‘All Shall Pass’ marks the middle of the album and is a slow clean, sung tune which breaks the album up well and shows again that this band have a lot of different ideas and approaches and are competent enough to make them work. ‘Insuperabilis’ again returns to Iron Monkey territory, before ‘No Chance’ opens with a fine solo. Probably the most melodic song on the album, it shows the fine guitar work of Arun Kamath and Daniel Mucs that was previously hidden under distortion. The album closes with ‘Moving Mountains’ and is lead by the rhythm section of drummer Dan Mikietyn and bassist Chris Mitchell-Taylor before the rest of the band come in and offer up the final slab of this impressive album before the song fades out and ‘Virgin Tapestry’ comes to an end.
Gary Harkin has an impressive vocal range and has used this album as a showcase of what he can do. From melodic vocal lines to guttural growls to screams, he appears very comfortable doing all and switching between each style with ease during the same song and sometimes the same line. Having seen this band live a couple of times, there is also a very strong stage presence that will suit these songs.
It seems wrong to call these newcomers as they seem to have been in various other bands for a while, but for a first album this is a very strong effort. Their different influences show through and although at some points they can sound as ferocious as At The Gates, there is an evident love of Southern rock and almost everything between. They have produced an excellent album for their debut and it is definitely worth picking up, one of the best debuts of 2011 I have heard so far, and speaking from experience, definitely worth catching live.