Wolf Counsel – Age of Madness/Reign of Chaos

It’s been a while since there was any doom on Archaic Triad, so I guess it’s time now. And the time could be worse, since I just received the third album of Wolf Counsel courtesy of Czar of Crickets. In case you didn’t know, Wolf Counsel is a Swiss band, belonging to that subgenre that draws influences primarily from the 70’s and 80’s hard rock oriented style of doom. Once not very popular, we now have a lot of bands like these (not least everything by the amazing Tommy Stewart), but at least in my opinion there’s still room for more.

Black Sabbath would be the go-to reference for something like this, in other words, but to fully capture Age of Madness/Reign of Chaos you have to go further than that. Namedropping Orange Goblin and, especially, Cathedral (less Candlemass, actually) is also not enough. There is a distinct vibe of stoner rock here, and many riffs actually feel like New Wave of British Heavy Metal, though usually slowed down. The overall production, finally, is rather crisp and modern. This fact could be seen as a detriment, but since I’m a person who spend significant amounts of time listening to 90’s porta studio produced black metal, not to mention hour long mp3s with literally static noise, perhaps my taste in production matters should not be taken too much into account.

The major, unusual feature of this album is the splendid catchiness of it all. While slow, heavy and generally doomy, there is rhythmic go aplenty, as well as enough attention grabbing melody to really make this a toe-tapping experience. Age of Madness/Reign of Chaos might well be a gateway drug album for people not yet sufficiently into the gloom of doom – and not because it is some “light” version of hard rock oriented doom, but because it truly draws you in. There is not one truly weak track, though there is one that kicks extra much butt: “Semper Occultus”. Just check it out for yourself – it’s not like I get paid to try to explain how music sounds to you.

The lyrics are suitably heavy, focusing or dramatic death and deep sorrow of various kinds. There are no forrays into politics or such, but “Coffin Nails” is actually an anti-smoking song, believe it or not. Could be lame, but it’s really not for some reason. This splendid piece of dark, rocking doom is released on the 21st of November, and will then be available from Czarshop. Don’t miss out on this one. Despite the nice production.

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