After being formed in 1995 as a melodic death metal band, things changed along Wolverine's way, when some circumstances not only gave the band a new line-up, but also their music changed towards a more progressive metal, with a grunt every now and then. Now, after a hiatus of five years, the follow up of the highly acclaimed album; Still is finally released.
Communication Lost takes us another step further away from their original sound and can, musically, been seen as a natural growing process that had been started with their previous album. The songs are more complex, more atmospheric and have a great all around sound.
What stands out most of all, is the way vocalist Stefan Zell handles the vocals. In his voice you can hear what the band has gone through in the last five years-the emotion and sometimes sadness flow into his lyrics with every phrase he sings as you can notice in songs like Poison Ivy, Embrace or In The Quiet Of Dawn, where a cello ensemble creates a suitable backdrop for Stefan's mourning, emotional vocals. In other songs, like in In Memory Of Me, you can hear the band's co-founder and drummer Marcus Losbjer, lay down a perfect beat, over this base, the band successfully experiments with some electronics, giving this song a more modern rock touch, and again the exceptional vocals take you into the band's feelings. Other songs that need attention are; Your Favourite War, where the band shows the virtuosity of guitarist Mikael Zell and new keyboard player Per Hendriksson, but not only in this song can you can experience some pleasant battles, but many of the songs have that great interaction between those two Swedish musicians. My personal favourites are the two longest songs on the album-Into The Great Nothing and title track Communication Lost both clock over eight and a half minutes. The first slightly reminds me of German band Sylvan in the vocal parts, with the heavy guitars of another German band; Vanden Plas. Here you find everything a good progressive rock/metal song needs: great guitar hooks, a keyboard that floats just beneath the surface, but jumps out when the song asks for it, an adventurous rhythm section, and most of all, a voice that can make a difference. The title track starts with a nice bass, played by Thomas Jansson and a cool piano that lead into an electronic melody, followed by a Hammond sounding keyboard. Over this, the guitarist plays his heavy parts. The keyboards are great in this song, but when the guitar plays its solo over a piano combined with the perfect vocals, we have found the bridge from modern progressive rock to a kind of more keyboard driven seventies progressive rock. After all this great music, I was anxious to hear the last song on the album; A Beginning. The opening was very promising, with a soft kind of spoken word in the background, but then my CD player called it quits. It turned out I got a bad home-made copy from the record company which stopped at 1;38, while I was hoping for almost seven minutes of great music. A bit of a downer here, but I can't blame it on the band. Their music is just great!
Wolverine needed time to solve some personal issues and it took them five years to create something special. Their music has grown more emotional and they have turned their sorrows into some great progressive songs both melodic and atmospheric. I only can say; Wolverine is back..... with an album that can be measured with the best. Hats off.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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