'Where Flies Will Reign' - The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name / Turned Up Louder
It is often said that too much of a good thing can lead to overindulgence- and when you have a collection of tracks whose very foundation is built from anguish and inner melancholy, a three-song tasting menu is a perfectly digestible length for a single release. The new EP from Cheshire-based alt-rock outfit The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name, therefore, is the perfect nugget-sized antidote to the sense of isolation that can come alongside low winter moods. A trio of songs as well-melded as the outfit’s three stalwart members, ‘Where Flies Will Reign’ represents a shift in the band’s sound. The tracks take in some more experimental elements, while capitalising on their distinctive brand of creating despondent atmospheres that rise up into full-throttle choruses.
Opener ‘My Anaemic Friend’ appears to pick up, to an extent, where the band’s previous release, 2018’s ‘To Be Where There Is Pale Light’, left off. Vocals that shiver and froth over the top of a dark, sludgy melody mirror the haunting accompanying video, in which the face of vocalist Matthew Awbery drifts in and out of view like a spectral shade. The fractionalised distortion on the vocals in the verses highlights the spine-tingling eeriness that permeates the entire release, rising to a crescendo that thunders in the base of your gut. Strained screams that scythe through the final pummelling guitar lines, impossible though it may seem, are even more potent live, which is the only place where the full ferocity of this song’s closing moments can be fully appreciated.
Evidence of the band dipping their toes slightly deeper into the weird and wonderful world of darkly seductive alt-rock, is ‘Lovely Shiny Teardrop’. Stereo-effect guitars bring a crunchier element to the warbling melancholy; yet this track’s real selling point is the verses, which are decorated with delicate piano notes that drip like raindrops catching sunlight throughout the melody. Despite the song’s measured pace, there is a hidden airiness to the melody which evokes an image of this track as the darker, broodier cousin of The Smashing Pumpkins’ seminal work ‘Tonight Tonight’; complete with lighter-waving closing ode and mournful harmonising.
The final segment of this triumvirate, ‘I’m Not Well’, is perhaps the track that strays furthest down this more experimental pathway. Lyrically, the track appears far more modest than its predecessors, with well over a full minute of instrumentation before they make an appearance. Yet when they do, they are, arguably, the most heart-wrenching of any of the band’s recorded tracks to date. Soaring vocals echo into the mist of the melody, the pain of a relationship torn apart from which they were borne shining through a translucent veil of self-control. Not that the instrumentation that bookends these words is in any way inferior: burbling guitars that groan from the distance like whale song adorn the opening minute, beautifully haunting; while the closing two minutes are driven by a moaning lead guitar line that steadily becomes looser and unravels into its reverberating finish.
‘Where Flies Will Reign’ is as dark and brooding as its title suggests. Though the tracks were inspired by the weight intense human emotion can place on our shoulders, the band manage to walk the line between grandiose alt-rock and dejected ballad with a fine level of finesse. The sheer might of their choruses continues to make their live shows a whiplash-inducing experience, and while these songs may not be your first choice to soundtrack a hazy summer’s afternoon, their potency and emotional depth cannot be overstated.
'Where Flies Will Reign' is due for release on January 17th as a self-release.
Check out the video for the second single from the record, 'I'm Not Well', below:
The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name will be playing a hometown show next month- details can be found below: