Artist: Edward Wolf
Imagine a city. Picture it as if you are Batman, looking down on its immensity with the eyes of a hawk and the attention to detail of a veteran detective: what do you see? On the smallest and most scrutinizing scale, there is crime. Millions of instances depicting human depravity, senselessness and violence. But where there is boorishness and brutality, there is also beauty—acts of selfless benevolence that redeem your faith in society. As you begin to expand your field of few, looking at the city as a whole, it begins to come into clearer focus–like a rainforest or ocean, every city is an ecosystem filled with predators and prey, hunters and hunted. With this image clear in your head, the album art for Edward Wolf’s debut album, Chapters, makes more and more sense. Chapters is an exercise in dynamic, brilliant instrumental songwriting. It is home to savagery and subtlety, both boldness and beauty. While instrumental music—especially instrumental metal–gets a “boring” label, Chapters breaks the mold, as it is as engrossing as your favorite book.
A bum spits at your shoes as you walk by. A stranger steals your wallet. Brutish construction workers whistle at your girl and call you a pansy. The city is unkind, and Chapters follows suit. Edward Chevelle, the man behind the music, has crafted a release that is home to more than its fair share of crushing, downtuned heaviness. As the mastermind behind ultraviolent deathcore act When Blood Falls Down, Chevelle knows his way around heavy music and isn’t afraid to show it off. “I Had to Let You Go” is a sullen example of Chevelle’s frantic, quick-paced songwriting expertise. Meanwhile, “JOHNYANDTOSTY” is a raunchy ride from beginning to finish, with bouncy, thick percussion accompanied by lumbering, low-down-and-dirty guitar. However, even some of Chevelle’s more mellow ventures manage to make their way into heavier territory. “Walking Home Alone” is one such track, as it begins subtly but quickly writhes into savage, sinister riffing and quick, stuttering breakdowns. “I Had to Let You Go” sees Chevelle going from gloomy to grisly, ending in an eviscerating, mind-melting series of skin-splitting riffs interspersed with brief forays into furious heaviness. The bitter, bold side of Chapters manifests most brilliantly in the album’s closing track, where touches of harmony and tranquility pad the fifty-pound sledgehammer that whacks away at the listener with punishing blast beats and brutalizing bass drums.
But as you’re walking, you find a penny—maybe two. A man calls and reports he found your wallet. Your girlfriend shoos off the cavalier construction workers. Things aren’t SO bad. This is the twinkly, light side of Chevelle’s Chapters. The airy, atmospheric guitar on “Au Revoir Pour Toujours,” or the sublime perfection in the introduction to “Walking Home Alone.” Chevelle enchants the listener with blissful, smooth fretwork that costars excellently alongside his penchant for punishing heaviness. The moments of entrancing beauty on Chapters serve as more than just filler for moments where his lust for lurid heaviness shines; they span entire minutes, but with such marvelous energy and passion that they draw the listener’s attention for what feels like decades. Take the introduction to “I’ll Remember You Forever (Pt. I)” where Chevelle uses serenity to paint a picture of an immense ocean, slowly turning up the heat until–by the end of the track–it is boiling, right with the listener’s blood, with marked fervor.
With his marked mastery of mellow musicianship and sharp, sinister instrumentation tied together with superior songwriting, Edward Chevelle manages to make Chapters comprehensive and completely fluid. The true beauty found within Chapters is found not at either extreme, but rather, somewhere in the middle, as somehow, Chevelle manages to capture the emotion of each song title with precision. Take “Walking Home Alone,” for instance. Beginning with a solemn, depressive atmosphere, the song quickly springs to life, painting splashes of bright lights and dark alleys that feel like deep, dismal caves. Chevelle takes the listener on an adventure with each song, such that by the time they reach the fading conclusion of “Au Revoir Pour Toujours,” they are wiped out and ready to be lulled into a deep slumber.
Chapters is a city of sound: filled with hustle-and-bustle, but still calm and peaceful from afar. Edward Wolf is a solo project that sees the full range of Chevelle’s emotion, lending itself well to languishing heaviness (for fans of his full band) and opening up to a broader range of emotions on its more blissful downbeats. If you’ve previously written off instrumental efforts as dull and lifeless, then let Chapters reverse that with its sharp spark.
For Fans Of: Minus the Bear, Intervals, Polyphia
By: Connor Welsh