One thing’s clear when you dive into Balance, the new album from Chicago trio Of Wolves – they’re angry. And why shouldn’t they be? It’s hard to feel anything other than stressed, frustrated or straight-up disillusioned looking at what’s happening all around the world in 2020. This year alone has seen catastrophic bushfires caused by human-made global warming that’s still dismissed as nonsense by many world leaders, yet more far-right activity, a global pandemic mismanaged even by countries who should be better equipped to deal with such a threat, more senseless murders committed by those who claim to be there to protect the people and quite literally countless other injustices.
Art is no replacement for direct action, but it can be important in these times. A single song, book or film isn’t going to change the world, but they can help us envisage brighter futures or confront the injustices in the world head-on. Sometimes in these times all we want from our art is a chance to escape, and this can certainly be hugely beneficial for mental health, but sometimes we want art to channel our anger, to share our pain and explicitly target those causing the inequality we see around us. Of Wolves are masters of this.
The band’s music is unashamedly antagonistic, refusing to settle in one particular genre and instead drawing from a host of confrontational styles to bolster the raw and heavy nature of their sonic assault. There’s shades of crust, hardcore, sludge and extreme metal across Balance. And even when the band take a moment of respite, as on the epic title-track, the music stays desolate, luring you into a false sense of security before launching into heavier realms – a powerful reminder to never become complacent.
Balance drops this Friday, but we’re thrilled to be able to share it with you early. Check it out below.
Balance is out 4th July on Trepanation Recordings.
Words: George Parr