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Age of the Wolf – Ouroboric Trances Award winner

Age of the Wolf
Ouroboric Trances
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 20 May 2019, 4:45 AM

AGE OF THE WOLF is a Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal band from San Jose, Costa Rica.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard a band from this country before so I was pretty excited to see what kind of Doom this region could produce. So what kind of Doom did the band produce for their first full length, “Ouroboric Trances?” A supremely heavy but surprisingly diverse take on the genre.  At its core, the music leans towards Tradtional/Epic Doom with strong Heavy Metal and Sludge influences.  Many of the riffs, and even the vocal style, echo Stoner as well.  Doom is one of those sub genres that has many other ones beneath it…it is very refreshing to hear a band meld all these styles together while still having a coherent sound.

Due to the many sides their music has, it is hard to pin down any similar artists but if I had a gun to my head, I would have to say CROWBAR, ORANGE GOBLIN and a myriad of old school Metal/Doom bands.  But they have their own sound for sure and it is one of the more original Doom albums I’ve heard this year..and I’ve heard A LOT. The vocals are as diverse as the music—everything from growls, shouts, screams, and cleans are presented here.  Guitarists Christopher and Beto plus bassist Jorge all provide this three pronged vocal attack and it really adds an extra dimension to the songs.

The opening track, “Herald of Abyssos,” begins as a more hazy approach with clean guitar notes covered in a light layer of fuzz helping the clean vocals along.  The song bursts open with a nasty, thick riff and a more rough vocal approach.  The bass guitar is a fuzz generator like no other, boosting up the rhythm while providing that thick low end we all crave in Doom. The third track, “Goliath,” is one of the best from the album.  The invasive drums from Gabriel create an explosive start to the track before it takes a more laid back approach, complete with an almost blues like guitar leads.  The middle portion of the track is the audio equivalent of a stampede of mastodons.  Towards the end, the song ups the temple with some devastating riffs and thunderous drums, proving that Doom can be as intense as some of the more extreme genres. The album features eight tracks at around the 43 minute mark for the total running time—that is the sweet spot for any album’s run time.  As such, each song is great and it flows well from beginning to end.

The seventh track, “Bloodrage,” is a rager of a track; the guitar riffs throw out groove at a pummeling pace and once the vocals kick in, the song settles into a wonderful pace until the last couple of minutes where the song takes a complete left turn and turns into a more Psychedelic/Stoner Doom approach that paves new territory for the song while complimenting what came before. The band saves the best for last, with the mammoth sized track “Molten Earth,” an almost ten-minute tour de force of everything that makes the genre so great.  The first four minutes of the song are oppressively dark and heavy, near Death/Doom in its approach—“Molten Earth” is just a non-stop machine that only exists to spit out some truly nasty grooves.  About six and half minutes, the song comes to change of seasons—the guitar is clean and the vocals are more atmospheric but the darkened nature of the song doesn’t change.  It is an interesting use of melody….one that keeps the tone of the song even when the music drastically changes.  Oh and that ending guitar solo?  So soulful, so beautiful and engaging that I jumped up and did a lame air guitar move that made one of my kids look at me like I’m a freak.

With “Ouroboric Trances,” AGE OF THE WOLF has created a Doom Metal album that, in my opinion, is as near perfect as an album can get.  If you like Doom in any capacity or music that is filled to the brim with amazing ideas and song writing prowess, this album needs to be heard.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Herald of Abyssos
2. Unholy
3. Goliath
4. The Crimson Penitence
5. Goddess of the Hunt
6. Witches’ Gallows
7. Bloodrage
8. Molten Earth
Lineup:
Christopher de Haan – Vocals, Guitars
Beto Ramirez – Vocals, Guitars
Jorge Camacho – Vocals, Bass
Gabriel Ortiz - Drums
Record Label: Aural Music
     


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