Wolverine

Picture of Wolverine

Fervent Dream EP

Wolverine - Fervent Dream EP ©1999 Zizania
1. Whispers On The Wind
2. Echoes
3. More Than Grief
4. Again?
5. Last Words

I bought this disc on a whim mostly because I am a sucker for a long, meaty song. Four of the five tracks on this EP are quite long, with the shortest of them being six-and-one-half minutes long. I'm pleased to say that the whim was a winner. This is a tremendous disc any way you approach it.

Wolverine are a progressive metal quartet from Sweden. While the band is fairly young, each of the members brings a considerable musical background to the table. Throw in a string quartet and an additional guest musician on the didgeridoo, and you have a lot of music on this disc.

Let's start with the songwriting. It is melodic and complex, bordering on the majestic at time. These are richly woven compositions that really bring out the talent of the band as a whole. There aren't any solos for the sake of showing off on the disc. The music is a vehicle unto itself. That's an immediate plus in my book because it forces the band to be deeper and work harder at bringing off their musical idea. Each of the instruments is clearly heard and sharply precise. There is a lot of technical excellence here brought off in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The music is very accessible and wonderfully complex. Each element of the songs have been very carefully crafted.

The vocals are interesting. Three of the band members sing, two of them with the typical progressive metal style and one with the harsher death metal growls. Normally I am put off by the death metal growling, but it really works well on this disc. Vocalist Stefan Zell could be Ray Alder's twin brother. His voice is clear and rich. He harmonizes wonderfully with guitarist Carl-Henrick Landegren. The death growls of drummer Marcus Losbjer are used sporadically as points of emphasis as though they were accentuating the clean singing more than being a point of focus. What would normally put me off from the music actually serves to carry it a step further in this case.

The lyrics are in keeping with what people like to term "thinking man's metal." I like to avoid that appellative myself, but find that it is fitting for this band. The lyrics are thoughtful and well written. There is a good reflective quality to the words in the songs.

When everything it put together we have a set of great progressive metal songs. The music is heavier and more aggressive than much of what is coming out from progressive metal bands recently. It possesses many strengths and qualities that will make you glad you bought the disc. I hope Wolverine continue to produce music. I've been unable to find anything other than this EP. This disc is a wonderful start. I would highly recommend this to fans of progressive metal.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2001

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The Window Purpose

Wolverine - The Window Purpose ©2001 DVS Records
1. End
2. My Room
3. His Cold Touch
4. ...
5. Leaving Yesterday
6. Towards Loss
7. The Storm Inside
8. Coma
9. Release
10. Post Life

Having previously released an EP called Fervent Dream, Sweden's Wolverine, not necessarily associated with summer blockbuster movie madness, has followed up that effort with a lengthy album entitled The Window Purpose. Wolverine dwells roughly in the same territory as Pain of Salvation or maybe latter day Fates Warning, although not a carbon copy of either band. The Window Purpose shows this band has the tendencies to be a modern Power-Prog band who could wank with the best (or worst, depending on perspective) of them. However, Wolverine seems more inclinded to focus on writing long, threaded songs that show just a slight influence in their melodic death metal peers.

The Window Purpose is the type of album I've listened to quite a few times to get a handle on and still haven't quite figured out what to think of it. On one hand, this band avoids the trappings of most talented bands who fancy themselves progressive by focusing on their songwriting more than showing off their scales. On the other hand, The Window Purpose is just epic enough and long enough to make listening to the complete project a bit difficult. Granted, the central instrumental theme of "His Cold Touch" is exceptionally memorable and a lot of the songs contain some brilliant parts. Perhaps Wolverine simply hasn't quite mastered the art of injecting true emotional content into their music yet. Whereas some of their counterparts, such as Pain of Salvation, can entrall a listener by mixing deft musicianship with an impressive sense of heartfelt emotion, Wolverine seems more like they're running through a dress rehearsal.

Regardless of being shy of perfect, The Window Purpose is still a quite fine album and those who like a classy sort of metal that sidesteps cliches and overblown window dressing are recommended to check out this band. I get the impression that The Window Purpose will act as a stepping stone for this band for future releases.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2003

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