Review: Alpha WolfHalf Living Things

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I don’t know if you all have heard but Alpha Wolf has a new record called Half Living Things that just got released publicly. Their last record was released all the way back in 2020 so I’m glad to see them back in the saddle making some new stuff for us to bang our heads to. With that said… Lets get right into it.

This record is kind of an everything record. There’s lots of the heavy-duty deathcore grooves that you’d expect but there’s also a lot of new experimentation that takes the band’s sound in a new direction. Tracks like “Bring Back the Noise” and “Double-Edge Demise” are pretty much the standard from a deathcore group these days: Highly abrasive vocals, down-tuned guitars with an absurd amount of distortion, and a bouncy drum track. Once you get to the third track “Haunter”, some of that new experimentation starts to show itself with a really cool droning synth track that runs for the entire duration of the song. It has numerous changeups and rhythms that make the track much more dynamic than the previous two. Jumping forward a bit, “Pretty Boy” isn’t too far out of Alpha Wolf’s wheelhouse, but it does have a very unique chorus featuring a cool minor chord progression and clean vocals. The rest of the record continues this trend with varying success.

Overall I do like the direction this record is trying to go in; I have a lot of respect for a band that decides to change it up and try something new regardless of what long-time fans may think. Deathcore as a genre seems to have gotten fairly formulaic so I’m glad to see some bands breaking the mold and not becoming the next Rings of Saturn, releasing the same thing every few years. On this record, songs like “A Terrible Day for Rain” and “Ambivalence” really show the versatility Alpha Wolf has been striving to achieve. That being said, not everything is perfect with this record: “Double Edge Demise” comes across as a bit fan-servicey, and “Whenever You’re Ready” is basically a bland metalcore track.

This record is proving to be really hard for me to give a rating. I really enjoy the synth sounds and most of the clean vocals that make appearances on some songs, however, there’s a number of tracks that really don’t feel like anything special to me. The record is pretty backloaded, the last two songs being my favorites and the first two songs being my least favorite. In a way it’s almost like watching the band evolve over the course of the record. It starts out very standard deathcore, and ends up more of an industrial introspective metal experience. As I’ve stated in previous reviews, my favorite songs are ones that feel like they take me somewhere, and I think especially the last two tracks really achieve that. Despite having a few tracks that I see myself skipping every time they come on, I think this project will end up being a launching point for a new era of Alpha Wolfthat I’m really excited to see come to fruition.

After listening to this record quite a few times, I think I feel comfortable giving it

3/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

Half Living Things released independently on April 4. Check it out on Bandcamp!

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