Valhalla by WolftoothRelease date: May 22, 2020
Label: Ripple Music
With their self-titled debut album Wolftooth combined doom atmosphere with stoner metal riffs, bluesy rock influences and an infectious sense of melody to create a highly listenable album and marked the Indiana band as definite ones to watch. Following such an assured debut album would be no easy task, but Wolftooth have taken it in their stride with the brilliant follow up album Valhalla.
The sublime instrumental ‘The Lamentation Of Frigg’ gets things off to a fine start with its stirring acoustics creating a atmosphere that conjures up feelings of a stillness before an inevitable avalanche of noise and will be the perfect way to start the Wolftooth live show when they hit the stage again. Much like Sabbath’s interludes of ‘Embryo’ and ‘Orchid’ from Master Of Reality preceding ‘Children Of The Grave’ and ‘Lord Of This World’, this opening salvo very much has the air of the calm before the storm. That storm arrives as the crunching groove of ‘The Possession’ cranks out from the speakers. The galloping riffs intertwine with the distinctive vocals of Chris Sullivan and the pounding drums of Johnny Harrod to create a great example of heaviness and melody in a song that encapsulates everything that make Wolftooth such a great band and has a big Thin Lizzy-esque vibe to it.
The crunching ‘Firebreather’ is an energetic tour de force while the albums title track adds an air of majesty to the proceedings complete with some killer guitar solos. ‘Fear For Eternity’ comes on with a more low sling groove but loses none of its power in doing so and makes way for the brooding but upbeat ‘Scylla & Charybdis’. The riffy ‘Molon Labe’ and the epic, heavy blues of ‘Crying Of The Wolves’ add more variety to Wolftooth’s musical arsenal. The album commences with the hard rocking ‘The Coven’ and the vibrant energy of ‘Juneau’ to complete an album that shows off the bands knack for creating a fully cohesive and joyful listening experience.
With Valhalla, Wolftooth have raised the stakes once again and in doing so have made an album that combines energetic riffs and grooves as well as a keen ear for melody with an infectious energy and lust for life all wrapped up in memorable and supremely executed songs. How the band will follow this one is a question that anyone who listens to Valhalla may ponder deeply, it’s that good an album, but I will look forward to the answer for sure.