Wolvhammer, The Obsidian Plains

Phil Freeman

By Phil Freeman

on 11.02.11 in Reviews
Working-class nihilism

On album No. 2, Minnesota-based Wolvhammer have moved from the tiny Init label to the infinitely hipper Profound Lore, and added former Nachtmystium guitarist Jeff Wilson to their ranks. They’re working with producer (and current Nachtmystium member) Sanford Parker for the second time, and he’s still giving their punkish, black-metal-influenced roar a full, vibrant sound with plenty of low end. Maybe that’s how a thumping disco beat found its way into album opener “The Gleaming.” The band’s at their best when they set up a sort of hardcore/biker-thrash groove and ride it; conventional blast beats feel tacked onto “Bones of the Pious” and “Ghosts in the Water.” Riff-wise, they ably combine screeching noise-rock feedback with post-punk gloominess; the vocals are buried in the mix, but discernible if you want them to be. The phrase “working-class nihilism” describes much more than music in 2011, but it sums up Wolvhammer ably, too.