Words by Rangi White.
Melbourne has prepared the starving hounds of the Australian heavy music scene a delectable meal – the head chefs behind this culinary creation are Alpha Wolf. On the touring warpath at the moment, they are carving their way around the globe playing shows and enticing fans with a tangible taste of their upcoming EP ‘Fault.’ If one desires to find an explosive musical conglomerate with emotionally driven lyrical content to soothe their nu metal core cravings, Alpha Wolf’s incredible, stone-splitting, soon-to-be released EP is perfect to satiate.
After forming in 2013, they were gaining momentum after consecutive EP’s and singles forged a path of success for their enthralling full-length album ‘Mono,’ until line-up changes came and turned the bands writing process on its head. Not many bands can endure a two-member line-up change and retain the same quality and confidence in the sound that they had prior, however after listening to ‘Fault’ I’d be willing to say that for Alpha Wolf, its worked out for the best. Now, after recently signing to Sharptone Records, they are hitting it straight up the middle with the release of ‘Fault’ entailing an Australian tour, beginning May 24 which will invade Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Brunswick. Alpha Wolf consists of Sabian Lynch, (Guitar) John Arnold, (Bass) Lochie Keogh (Vocals) Mitch Fogarty (Drums) and Scottie Simpson (Guitar)
First course on the menu is No Name, the first single released from the album. 2018 bore the first glimpse of Fault and it is a plethora of brutality. The way that the raw, throaty vocals of new addition Lachie Keogh are emphasised by the power of the alternating straight/syncopated rhythmic sections in the verses blew me away. The layering of the screams was a standout point to me in this song, they were mixed in a way that didn’t leave the vocals sounding muddy; the sonic clarity retained being a brilliant precursor for easily understanding the lyrical content. A brilliant, atmospheric opener laced with aggressiveness and heart…first impressions are everything, and for ‘Fault,’ this one was pretty fucking good.
Spirit Breaker is the second track, and it picks up the pace substantially. A ruthless opening into driving drum rhythms leave you tingling with anticipation for the rest of the song…the ensuing middle section doesn’t disappoint. It’s an absolute lesson in ambiguous nu-metal song-writing, retaining both the power and speed of faster pace segments alongside the core-shaking reverberation of the slower, heavier sections, and the rhythmic prowess of Mitch Fogherty on the drums is showcased unashamedly. The combination of the breakdown in the middle and the spicy Mi Goreng I am currently inhaling actually brought me close to the verge of shitting.
Served up third comes a bone breaker of a track, Russian Roulette and it definitely rates as one of my favourites from this EP. Instantly I was drawn in by the tone of the opening guitar effects, the most abrasive treble my ears have been graced by since my last encounter with the sound guy at ‘The Backroom’ in Annerly. The vocals are standout in this, the variation of the timbre in each vocal line personifies the lyrics in a way that makes you feel the emotion behind each word so viscerally. To be completely honest, if I were ever actually subjected to a game of Russian roulette, I’d probably choose this song to be my soundtrack throughout.
45 seconds of title track Fault makes a brilliant leader into the bands latest single Sub-Zero which is, with no way of sugar coating, an utter ear splitter. “And I just need a goddamn cigarette to fill my lungs, extort the pain…” is how I feel while trying to find words to describe this track. Effected fretboard scraping and post-production manipulation of tremolo picking is one of the most impressive tone-lending aspects of this song, and it suits the rage-imbued lyrics to a tee…this song fucken’ hurts. In a good way. I’m writing this on the 18th of April, and I’m imagining it being played at Impericon festival tomorrow on the 19th, and the fact I won’t see it really pisses me off, I guess I’ll just have to settle for re-watching the visually insane music video for ‘Sub-Zero,’ released a month prior repetitively. The words, the breakdowns, the juxtaposition of skull crushing rhythm and textural guitar in this hits home for me, I think Alpha Wolf made a correct decision in releasing this song and video as a prelude to the EP.
Probably the most hectic icing on any metal cake I’ve tasted in a while is the final track The Lonely Bones. This song stands apart from the rest on this record, in the way its instrumentally layered in a far different manner to the rest. An atmospheric sermon of hateful disenchantment, the slower, more drawn out vibe of this song makes it sound like a final afterword…a conclusion to a real fucking heavy statement. “Fault to me has been a bit of an outlet to admit past mistakes and realise its ok to fail sometimes” says Sabian Lynch in a recent doco made on the EP – ‘Fault – A Retrospect’ (Link below) Personally, I think that whole outlook is reflected best by this track. It’s hard, it’s heartfelt, it’s melodic in comparison to the rest and it shakes you. Overall, ‘Fault’ is an incredible work of emotional, musical creation and a real exhibition of talent and heart. To me, this EP seems as if it’s based around the actual concept of fault – blame, and the directions it goes in, at one’s self, at others, and how it affects a person or a situation – be it in different contexts, as the subject matter of each song is. To have such insightful song meanings matched with instrumental prowess is a sure-fire way of appealing to each and every heavy music lovers “cold, black, emotionless hearts” – which when released ‘Fault’ will do with ease.