WOLVERINE – Communication Lost
Starting their career as a death metal outfit with progressive influences, Sweden’s Wolverine now stand firmly on an atmospheric progressive metal landscape. “Communication Lost” appears five years after the “Still” record, and this five piece appear to infuse electric sounds with psychedelic and almost tranquil serenity. Songs like “Into The Great Nothing”, “Your Favourite War” and the title track infuse The Gathering-like build ups in arrangement dynamics along with subtle off time keyboard / guitar parts and drumming that comes from a Tool / Pain Of Salvation perspective.
Overall this isn’t an album for the instantaneous, casual listener who wants something to grasp immediately. You’ll need patience and the understanding that where this album will hit you is both within the heart and mind – when you least expect it. Possibly waking from dream state – or in a dire time of diversion. Clean vocalist Stefan Zell doesn’t feel it’s necessary to always reach for the highest note – he would rather set up the scenery in a hypnotic mid-range and leave the upper register for the most aggressive movements. Guitarist Mikael Zell mutates between ringing clean electric/ acoustic play and distortion parts that possess strength beyond meager metal expectations – his best work coming through on “Pulse” where the band moves you from a soft, drum machine/ piano introduction and conclusion to the body of the 6:15 track which is more in line with Pain Of Salvation or possibly current Pagan’s Mind meets Nightwish.
At 69 minutes I normally shudder at bands who feel the average consumer has the energy to devote all this time to numerous playbacks. “Communication Lost” contains enough balance in terms of atmosphere plus progressive tension to give me something fresh each and every time – which can’t be said for 95% of the bands in their genre.
If you tire of the normal shred and virtuoso ethics – Wolverine should be your left field companion and offer the climate change you desire.