Nothing like nostalgic 00's metalcore in the vein of Every Time I Die and Norma Jean to get the juices flowing! This Austin quartet lean heavily into their southern riffing and strangled vocals, creating an ode to their oughties predecessors that stops just short of being derivative. The chaos on display is offset by their deliberate and progressive approach, an arrow flying straight from the skin to the target. It's very much an EP that aims to make noise, melody and chorus be damned.
That doesn't mean that there isn't melody. There are a few times on this album where there are some melodic parts that pull back the curtain to reveal that there might be some more instrumental and softer sensibilities lurking underneath, such as the vocal melodies on "Anne: The Widow (Feat. Ell)". Or the singer's own turn at post-hardcore warbling on "Hector: The Foreigner". And most memorably, the sinister keys that round out the final moments of the six-song EP.
But these are minimal in the overall GnarWolf package. It's an exercise in violent and relentless sound that calls to mind memories of The Chariot. And while the package overall may not make an impression when it comes to aspects like lyrics or choruses, it's about the delivery of the thing, which is entirely the point not lost on the listener. It's just nice to have something to hold on to, which aren't semi-charmed melodies, but instead hooks that pull the listener in.
Overall, this is an album that shoots rapid-fire salvos, without taking many breaths, which is decidedly a good thing on this EP that is at once intense and chaotic.
II EP Track Listing:
01. Harold: The Hero
02. Jessie: The Sheriff
03. Mr & Mrs Jenkins: The Mayor And His Wife
04. Anne: The Widow (feat. Ell)
05. Hector: The Foreigner
06. Dodge Brothers: The Cowboys (feat CJ Duffield)