Anyone familiar with George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels will know that direwolves are not to be trifled with. Gigantic, beastly, yet fiercely loyal cousins of the traditional wolf, they’ll rip your throat out in a heartbeat and have the rest of you for seconds. So any band naming themselves after such powerful creatures had better be possessed of the required bite and strength to send the competition scampering off with their tail between their legs, right?
French quintet Direwolves sound ready to take on all comers. Their debut EP “Me from Myself – To Banish” features six tracks of urgent, raging hardcore that’s gone a bit crusty. In the Trap Them way that is, not due to recycled inspiration. Opening track ‘Growling Defeat’ establishes an uneasy mood with its pounding downstrokes before the discordant ‘Dialogue of No Light’ demonstrates an impressive use of restraint in the building of atmosphere; where lesser bands would go for a standard hardcore assault, Direwolves prefer to allow the songs to expand in whatever direction necessary. But when they do run with the pack, on ‘Reach this Hand’, and ‘Diving and Struggling’ they sound more than capable of becoming alphas, merging the fury of long dead Modern Life is War with the off-kilter approach of even longer dead acts such as Deadguy.
All the members put in a strong performance throughout, with the strangled howls of vocalist P particularly standing out. Final track ‘Relief’ is the best of the lot; demonstrating a strong Converge influence with its chugging riffs, squealing resonance and sense of desperate fury leaving you with the belief that Direwolves may be runts of the litter for the time being, but a full length record as good as this EP will have ears pricking up all over the place.
Photo taken by Mr Fifi