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2 Wolves - Shelter

2 Wolves
by H.P. Buttcraft at 11 November 2014, 10:14 PM

Finnish dark metallers 2 WOLVES release this album, “Shelter” amongst the autumn that is leading into what’s sure to be a harsh and cold winter. The cover of this album doesn’t even come close to encompassing the tone and style of the 2 WOLVES’ music. The choice for that particular, over-saturated black and white photo just seemed like it was a lazy choice from the band. It does seems like someone just walked into their back yard in Finland, took a picture of their outhouse and said to themselves “this would make a great cover for a gothic metal album.” I know it has absolutely nothing to do with the music itself but I feel like the cover for “Shelter” is really dull and unattractive.

Consequently, the album cover is the strongest negative aspect about “Shelter”. I think that 2 WOLVES prepares a filling intake of gothic metal that doesn’t leave any appetites for the genre dissatisfied. The clean vocals and the gothic trance/EDM keyboard and programming tie the music together in a very glossy and polished way. The production on the album is really awesome and many of the songs sparkle from the mixing and engineering jobs that went into recording this record.

The guitars and bass sound on point in every song. The craft of creating a guitar tone like the one that is used by 2 WOLVES is an art unto itself. It is a certain hidden art form within another art form. And yes, there are a lot of songs on “Shelter” that are infectiously catchy. Songs like “Freedom of Two”, “Scar Collection” & “Visitors” really get under your skin in a very good way. And songs like  “Serpentine Paths in the Autumn Night” come in to balance the scale between rock and metal with its blackened passage as frigid and dark as a snow-covered Finnish tundra.

I cannot say that the faint inclusion of growling vocal didn’t bother me. I understand that it’s to be expected in Metal but with both of the vocalists singing the exact same lines but one of them is putting far more melody and talent into one and the other is just primitive. Its sounds like you are listening to NEVERMORE and INSOMNIUM at the same time and I feel like this overlapping style of theirs is far more complicated than it needs to be. Not every song is like this. Songs like “The Lake of Black Swans” and  “Wake of Beauty”, which are dominated by the clean vocalist, sound remarkably like STONE SOUR songs. And yes, that is a negative criticism.

But the album doesn’t necessarily drag on in areas that would deem this album unlistenable. “Shelter” is very listenable, should you give it a chance at all. I am giving a very heavy six out of ten to this record, which means that it almost was able to pull itself up past mediocrity. I think 2 WOLVES is a very promising artist but I will wait for future releases from them that are hopefully stronger than “Shelter” where they dare to venture past musical landscapes that may not be as comfortable to them.

3 Star Rating

1. Freedom of Two
2. Surrounding Fields and Stars in the Sky
3. Wake of Beauty
4. Scar Collection
5. Visitors
6. Serpentine Paths in the Autumn Night
7. Shelter
8. The Lake of Black Swans
Niko Pennanen - Drums
Aleksi Susi - Guitars, Programming
Toni Rantala - Bass, Vocals
Orsi Virén - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Inverse Records


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