Thursday, June 30, 2011

Album Review: Wolverine - Communication Lost

Wolverine - Communication Lost
Year: 2011
Click here for the artist's site

A few years back I stumbled across a Swedish band called Wolverine.  A track titled "His Cold Touch" was my first introduction.  I was impressed and quickly sought out their other albums.

What I discovered was a really unique band that seemed to defy description.  They called to mind a number of bands I really loved (Fates Warning, Riverside, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Katatonia) yet still managed to have their own sound.

With their most recent release, that trademark sound has been honed to a razor sharp edge, polished to perfection.  Let's just cut to the chase right here: Communication Lost is a fantastic album.

Having progressed beyond their melodic death metal roots, Wolverine has become an incredibly mature and thoughtful progressive rock/metal band.  That is apparent in every track on Communication Lost.  From the instrumental tracks that bookend the album, to every moment in between, the listener is awash in a sea of emotional music and lyrics the likes of which I have rarely encountered.

That Communication Lost can have such a profound impact with apparent accessibility is just another testament to how mature these Swedes have become as artists.  The music is beautiful, with more acoustic and calm passages than on any prior album of theirs.  Yet the guitars are never absent and come to the forefront in a manner that is so powerful that every note feels important.  There simply isn't a single wasted moment.

I have to give special mention to Stefan Zell's vocals.  He is a joy to listen to, and is able to communicate so much emotion and feeling through his singing that it is breathtaking at times.  And breathtaking is really what this album becomes.  I still contend that Cold Light of Monday is the single most cathartic listening experience of my life, but this comes close.  By the end of the album, you have taken a journey with the band, have sampled moments of their lives, and have renewed your understanding that music, even rock/metal music, truly can be art of the finest type.

Final Verdict: Adore it
Communication Lost is an incredible experience, one that I believe anyone owes it to themselves to experience.  There is so much heart and soul in this album.  And while the music appears deceptively accessible, there are so many layers, so much nuance to explore, even the harshest music critic and most pompous "prog snob" will find joy in exploring this wonderful album.  If this is not at the top of my album of the year list I will be shocked.  It is just that good.

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