EP Review – Fault by Alpha Wolf (SharpTone Records)

Australian metalcore band, Alpha Wolf, have released a new EP called Fault, following their hugely successful debut full length album, Mono.

Mono received a lot of praise upon its release in 2017 and saw the band quickly signed up to SharpTone Records and out on tours across Asia and Europe. This just helped to grow them further and raise anticipation levels for a new release. Alpha Wolf formed in 2013 in Tasmania before relocating to Melbourne. They released their debut EP in 2015, called Origin before following that up with Mono.

Alpha Wolf are a 5 piece, playing a chunky, slamming form of metalcore with punchy riffs, aggressive breakdowns and a little experimentation. For their short career so far, there have been a fair few changes to the lineup. Original lead vocalist John Arnold moves to bass duties in 2016 and his replacement, Aiden Ellaz has now also been replaced with Lochie Keogh. Sabian Lynch is the only original member still in the band on guitars. Also on guitars we have Scottie Simpson while another relative newcomer, Mitch Fogarty is on drums having replaced Jackson Arnold in 2018.

Fault

On to Fault then. Fault is around 18 minutes in runtime with 6 tracks overall. It starts off with the 3 and a half minute track, No Name. It very early on let’s you know what to expect from Alpha Wolf. Echoed harsh vocals fade in before crunching metallic guitar tones take on the riff. The bass is thick and hard hitting. The drums blast out fiery rhythms mixing up speed from steady thuds to explosive blasts. It’s catchy enough and chock full of aggression but it is also about as stereotypical a metalcore track as you are likely to find. Expect heavy vocals, breakdowns, stop start riffing – they could have been ticking off what metalcore requires from a checklist and managed to squeeze every nuance in. That isn’t to say it isn’t enjoyable. It is. Especially to rage filled vocals. It’s just predictable.

Spirit Breaker follows and adds more of the same though with a much more exciting riff. Low tones, thumping drums and a backing squealing line sounds absolutely banging. Again the vocals impress and the chorus stands out as pretty special with its added backing effects creating a full and layered soundscape. Russian Roulette goes back to pretty simplistic riff slams but improves as they hit a prechorus with a little descent into whispered vocals and fuzzy guitar tones. It sounds really dark and enjoyable. The main riff after this is great with the little high tone at the end addition. Very different to Fault’s opener, Russian Roulette shows a band with ideas and lashings of creativity.

Sub Zero also shows the band really pushing the boundaries of metalcore. It does have that familiar riff and metallic drops but around it, different elements rear their head. A wicked breakdown comes in with impressive lead guitar work. Vocals mix in tone, always staying heavy but in slightly different styles. There is a cracking slowdown near the end where the drums take the lead with chaotic sounding backing guitars. It’s really cool and acts as the perfect foil for the band to head straight into the final track, The Lovely Bones.

It’s another good song with a really strong chorus that sees the vocals stretch a bit further. The verses do move back towards being a bit predictable again but the choruses are pure fire. The very last sounds, at the end of The Lovely Bones and Fault, is a heavy breakdown to close. Pretty much stopping how they started. With power, aggression and music to snap your neck to.

Fault is a decent EP with some real highs but also some really stereotypical stuff. To be fair to them, even the “straight out of the metalcore handbook” stuff is decent. The riffs are strong, the drumming is great and the vocals are particularly impressive with loads of passion and aggression. This is music to lose your shit too with the only real downside coming in it’s predictability. The more mundane stuff, like the opener No Name could be any metalcore band and you will feel like you have heard it all before, many, many times. It is made to look worse, I think, by the quality of the more creative and boundary stretching middle songs like Russian Roulette and Sub Zero. When you hear them and see just what Alpha Wolf can do, you wonder why we have the blander tracks,

Overall though, Fault is an enjoyable listen with plenty of promise from a young band who clearly have the talent and drive to push on to bigger and better things. Hopefully with continued experimentation too. Just how good is the music coming out of Australia?

Grab your copy of Fault at the usual streaming platforms now. You can also grab a digital copy, and limited edition vinyl from the band on Bandcamp. Find out more on Alpha Wolf at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages by following the links.




Fault by Alpha Wolf (SharpTone Records)
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