I love black metal. Don't get me wrong. But Jeebus-everloving-Krispy-Kreme, it is terrible accompaniment to a hangover. I'm trying to wrap my head around this Wolvhammer record and get myself stoked for their show at Springwater. It is brutal. And not in the "good metal records are brutal" sense, but in the "all this head-banging is nauseating" sense.
The thing about Wolvhammer is that they aren't crazy stars with a crazy story — none of them has cannibalized a fellow band member, they aren't hanging out with eco-terrorists, they aren't loners hiding in the woods cultivating mystery. Wolvhammer is a working band that makes durable — nay, indestructible — heavy metal. They don't have a publicity machine behind them, or a label with the scratch to bankroll extravagances like, say, international phone calls. When the Scene caught up with guitarist Jeff Wilson, it was via email while the band was touring Canada. But Wolvhammer does have repeat-spin-worthy tunes that never lose their intensity or appeal. Which is great, because Wolvhammer releases can be intermittent.
Wilson says the biggest obstacle is scheduling around the day jobs of bandmates Brendan Seven, Heath Rave and himself. "Heath is a tattooer, Brendan is a freelance sound designer, and I work at a label/run a print shop. While all of them are pretty lenient as far as having the ability to take time off, we're all pretty busy at home, and let's be honest, we aren't making very much money sitting in a van for weeks at a time."
Nevertheless, a new full-length is in the offing. "We plan on hammering everything out once we get back from tour," says Wilson. "I've got a mountain of ideas, and I know Brendan has some as well." The plan is to head into the studio in February and have the album on shelves by summer. The new material looks to be an evolution in the Wolvhammer sound, with a change in process that can only be a portent of good things.
"In the past it was more like one person would bring in an entire song, [and] we'd rearrange where necessary," writes Wilson. "This time around, we've set up a small studio in our space and have been trading riffs back and forth. I'm hoping this is going to get everyone's input a little more involved."
On their previous two records, The Obsidian Plains and Black Marketeers of World War III, Wolvhammer proved they were one of the sturdiest, most cohesive units in underground metal, and a more collaborative approach can only strengthen that cohesion. Still, a safe bet would be getting a good night's sleep and sobering up a bit before giving it a spin.