Witches, ritual sacrifices, Ozzy-vocals, '70s rocking riffs, Hammond organs, yep it's stonerdoom allright. A genre that's really in vogue at the moment, with albums being released like crazy all over the world on all the major metal labels. In no small part helped by the popularity of festivals like Roadburn and Desertfest. Is that a bad thing? Of course not, but it does get kind of hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. You know, 'not seeing the forest for the trees' and more clichés like that.
Wolf Blood already mad quite a name for themselves in the scene, by selling out their self-titled cassette demo in mere days. This Minnesota 4-piece was formed in 2012 and is prepared to take the scene by storm with this 38 minute debut album, a vinyl rerelease of the self-titled demo. And most likely they will succeed in that, because opener 'Witch' sets the tone for this album. It might have all the clichés of the genre: lyrics about witches, Jake Paulsrud 'ozzy vocals' and the classic doom combined with the stoner riffs but it delivers said clichés very convincing. Over the album, other influences become apparent, like the thrash / heavy metal vibe of the instrumental track 'Ochro Ologo', with it's gallopping double bass drums. Personally I feel the slow tracks work better but that's a personal thing. Everyone into rocking classic doom will find their needs satisfied by Wolf Blood.
While I like Jake's unhinged, demented ozzy vocals that descent into hysteric screams a lot of the time, there are some vocal parts that could've been a lot better, I have to admit. For example in beginning of the track 'Black Moon' where it just sounds a bit out of place. And in the track 'Procession of the witch' there's the duelling vocals of Jake and guitarist Mindy Johnson that sound a bit off tune. Although it does help when Jake goes completely off his chain. Speaking of that track, there is no doubt in my mind that it is, for me at least, the best track of the album with its slow buildup and the very dark and bleak, almost evil-sounding atmosphere. I'm a sucker for roaring organs and the Hammond in this track gives the atmosphere a huge boost, never letting up for the entire 12 minutes. Great stuff. I kind of wish the whole album would be like this. The rest of the tracks have their moments but they're being eclipsed by this track, in my opinion.
It might not be the best thing since sliced bread, but there is no doubt in my mind that Wolf Blood will be going places within the scene. The whole album is a bit too diverse for my personal liking, but as I said, all of it is delivered with such conviction that stoners and classic doom fans will eat this up like hot cakes. A solid album, no more, no less.