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JFH Music Review


Wolves At The Gate, Types & Shadows
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Wolves At The Gate
Types & Shadows



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Hard Rock / Rock
Album length: 13 tracks: 54 minutes, 28 seconds
Street Date: November 4, 2016


READER RATING:   


Coming quickly off of last year's stellar Reprise EP, Wolves at the Gate attempts to truly cement their place in the post-hardcore scene with their third LP, Types & Shadows. As a reviewer, it's only been over the last few years that I've developed a true appreciation for the genre through artists such as Everything in Slow Motion and For Today. While it is oftentimes easy for casual listeners to overlook the lyrical depth of such artists, Wolves at the Gate's latest release serves to challenge all listeners with clear vocals and a profound, Gospel-centric message. Arguably softer than their prior studio albums, the accessibility of Types & Shadows will hopefully act as an entry point for new listeners. It wasn't until last year's EP that I began to carefully listen to the band's discography and discovered just how much I'd missed out.

The album opens with "Asleep," a track consisting of a healthy mix of both screamed and clean vocals. The powerful lyrics depict a conversation between God and a believer struggling with doubt and brokenness: "I hear Your song: / "for you My blood was spilled / in you I see no guilt" / Wash me now, my God, or I will die." While following the conversation can prove a bit difficult, its lyrics effectively help map out the themes of the album, including redemption, doubt, and the contrast between darkness and light. The next piece, "Flickering Flame," again emphasizes these themes: "Stay with me, flickering flame; I know Your name / every night I'll watch and wait as my candle's burning out / every night I'm filled with doubt, I will cry to You and shout."

"War in the Time of Peace" falls decidedly into the hard rock genre, reminiscent of My Epic's independent projects, while "Anthema" is a bit of a throwback to the band's earlier years. Unfortunately, neither track is exceptionally memorable, especially the latter. Interestingly enough, "Fountain" is one of the best tracks on the album. If its lyrics seem familiar, it's because they were directly pulled from the hymn "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood," written by William Cowper circa 1771. The darker take on the melody serves to shed light on the bleaker aspects of Christ's sacrifice and the cost of our redemption. "Fountain" closes and seamlessly flows into "Weary Ground," and not just melodically. The necessity of redemption is examined in this piece through the lines, "We're waiting for a better day, with shadows gone, old things passed away / listen close and hear us say: we're cursed and we're dying."

"Lowly" is a melancholic and unusually honest piece which takes an unfiltered look at the human condition, offering a raw plea to God: "Captured alive in this sinful estate … I do the things that I hate / tear down this structure 'til nothing is left, God deliver me from this body of death / Oh wretched man, wretched man that I am / lowly man, who can save such a wretch that I am, who can save such man?" In hindsight, this track probably should have been the album closer. For fans of the 2012's Captors, the tenth track, "Convalesce," should be a welcome addition to the album, fitting in well with the band's style from that era. "Chasing the Wind" is an interesting piece; it seems to have the texture of an acoustic song that was adapted to hard rock. Regardless, the song is one of the best on the album, and the confluence of the lyrical and melodic content makes this a track to remember: "Yet how could this be, I've been such a liar who's got nothing to give and none You require / how could I forget; Your ways are much higher."

The semi-final track, "Hindsight," is also a favorite, both challenging and affirming our identity as humans and children of God: "Am I different than Judas? For I've betrayed the kindest friend / I'm all out of excuses with nothing to make my amends." The unfiltered and simple lines screamed out of the end of the track ("when You found me all broken from the words that I'd spoken, but You are faithful in devotion, yeah You remembered me, You remember me") really hit the nail on the head. The closing track, "Grave Digger," is a great song, but feels a little bit out of place bringing up the rear of Types & Shadows. Several tracks on this album would have worked quite well as closers, including "Fountain," "Hindsight," and the aforementioned "Lowly," so that was a minor disappointment.

Ultimately, Types & Shadows is one of 2016's best releases and will doubtlessly serve as a highlight in Wolves at the Gate's career. Even if you're not a fan of the post-hardcore genre (but enjoy rock), this album is worth checking out. At the very least, give "Fountain," "Lowly," "Chasing the Wind," and "Hindsight" a spin. If you're already a fan of the band, this is a must-buy addition to your collection; you won't be disappointed.

- Review date: 11/2/16, written by David Craft of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Wolves at the Gate always seem to be busy doing something. The band has released a full-length album or an EP every year since their first demo back in 2010. Their newest effort, Types & Shadows, sees a little more of their metal influence dissipate. Musically and vocally, the group seem to resemble someone like My Epic, Disciple, or Project 86. By this, I simply mean that it's heavier rock music with occasionally screamed vocals -- not that it's a dead ringer for one of the aforementioned bands. While VxV was this reviewer's favorite album (nearly at first listen) by the band, Types and Shadows needed some time to grow. However, songs like "Flickering Flame," "War in the Time of Peace," "Anathema," and "Broken Bones" eventually won me over. The ballads, which are also in greater numbers, are also quite good with "Lowly" and "Hindsight" leading the way. If you were expecting a continuation from VxV, Types & Shadows won't be exactly what you're looking for. If you're open to growth from the band, and an overall more mature sound, this could be your favorite hard rock record of 2016. Wolves at the Gate's newest can still appeal to the metal fans that loved their earlier music, but will likely find an even stronger home with hard rock fans -- especially those who liked some of their "softer" music, like the ever popular "Man of Sorrows." Regardless, Types and Shadows is an excellently produced album that provides a really enjoyable listening experience with good replay value and increased likeability with multiple listens. Check this one out if you haven't already. - Review date: 12/1/16, written by Michael Weaver

 

JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents


    Wolves At the Gate's previous full-length release, VxV, was not only this reviewer's introduction to metal, but also a staggering showcase of evolution and progression for a band. The vocals were tighter and the music possessed a harder and more varied edge than that of the solid but uniform Captors. The band's latest effort leans towards a darker approach that brings to mind the ethereal post-rock of My Epic and Everything In Slow Motion. "Asleep" and "Flickering Flame" are sufficient indicators of the album's overall sound, but there are moments that slow things down quite a bit ("Fountain" and especially "Hindsight") that deserve enthusiastic acclaim. Types and Shadows isn't a game changer for its genre, nor does it progress their sound further than enhancing its more melodic aspects, but it's an incredibly solid release and one of the finest of the year. - 11/2/16, Lucas Munachen


    In 2012 and 2014, Wolves at the Gate made a permanent stamp on the Solid State scene by releasing two killer records that perfectly encapsulated the early 2000's post-hardcore sound. (In 2013, between those two albums, the band released a covers EP that made it very clear who their influences were: Blindside, Thrice, Thursday, and The Receiving End of Sirens.) Having effectively mastered this throwback style of metal-tinged melodic hardcore, Wolves branched out into brand new sonic and songwriting territory for their third album in five years. The resulting Types & Shadows is not an album of immediate gratification or obvious showiness; there's nothing as in-your-face as the vocal hooks or big lead guitar riffs that fan favorites like "Dead Man" boast. Instead, what you'll find on Types & Shadows is, across thirteen tracks, the strongest and most tasteful songcraft of the band's career. The newest member, Abishai Collingsworth, proves to be an amazing asset, contributing to much of the songwriting while consistently performing a display of some of the most thoughtful and inventive drum fills I've ever heard. What sets this album apart from other albums in the genre is how nearly all of these songs would translate to acoustic guitar without losing their beauty or catharsis. Look no further than "Lowly" or "Hindsight" for songs so impeccably crafted that they could convert non-metal listeners into mega-fans. Yet, every decision on this album -- from the balanced, uncluttered mix of multiple vocalists to the aforementioned drum fills or the fact that the lead guitar riffs were wisely pushed down in the song mixes (adding flavor instead of stealing attention) -- complements what would have been amazing songs in any genre and transforms them into utter brilliance. Having now spent half a decade adoring Types & Shadows, I think it should be heralded as a classic of Christian music. - 3/14/22, Chase Tremaine

 

 

. Record Label: Solid State Records
. Album length: 13 tracks: 54 minutes, 28 seconds
. Street Date: November 4, 2016
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Asleep (3:57)
  2. Flickering Flame (4:31)
  3. War in the Time of Peace (4:15)
  4. Anathema (3:30)
  5. The Aftermath (4:23)
  6. Fountain (3:33)
  7. Weary Ground (3:16)
  8. Lowly (3:40)
  9. Broken Bones (3:52)
  10. Convalesce (3:38)
  11. Chasing the Wind (4:37)
  12. Hindsight (5:16)
  13. Grave Digger (6:00)

 



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