2 WOLVES – Shelter
Dark gothic metal here with occasional death nuances from the Finnish act 2 Wolves on their third album "Shelter". The melancholic spirit permeates these 8 songs, even when the melodies or musical accompaniment can be very energetic or upbeat as in the crushing riffs and semi-blast beats meeting an infectious chorus for "Surrounding Fields and Stars in the Sky". Guitarist Ossi Viren handles the clean vocals, and his range is one of those clear, emotive deliveries that possesses a lot of 80’s alternative nuances along with Katatonia inflections. Guitarist/keyboardist Aleksi Susi handles the harsh contrasts, often blending together to promote even more aggressive, underground appeal on another highlight "Wake of Beauty".
It’s difficult for me to pick specific reference points for 2 Wolves in terms of their style. The guitar playing can move from open, brooding chords to heads down, almost melodic death orientation – the drumming also has the versatility between solid grooves of a doom to mid-tempo variety and then picking up the energy for segments when necessary. I can pick out elements of "Icon" era Paradise Lost, all facets of Katatonia, and definitely a little bit of the Gothenburg death scene circa the experimental Dark Tranquillity years – but they certainly have created their own take on dark gothic metal. There aren’t a lot of bands that willingly throw in blast beat sections against clean vocals (to the effect that made Edge of Sanity a 90’s standout), and that’s what makes "Visitors" just as spine tingling as the doom-oriented epic closer "The Lake of Black Swans".
Lyrically a tragic love story set up in haunted house scenery, the words cascade in images that can embrace some or scare others – 2 Wolves setting up a multitude of outlooks. "Shelter" will make many dig deeper into the 2 Wolves catalog. Please do not let this band remain cult forever.