REVIEW: Wolfpack – None Above/None Equal [2016]


Artist: Wolfpack 

Album: None Above/None Equal


Beatdown and metallic hardcore has a well earned reputation for instigating some of the most savage violence venues have ever seen. Take a look at any YouTube mosh-montage video and you’ll see: eight or nine times out of ten, the band performing will be a beatdown act or a metal-infused hardcore group—and the pit will be absolutely off the meter in terms of activity and aggression. So if you’re wondering whether or not French self-proclaimed “heavy metalcore” act Wolfpack live up to the savagery implied by their name, stop wondering: they do. None Above/None Equal is a no-holds-barred display of bloodthirsty beatdown infused with ignorant, intense metallic riffing and song structure, done with energy and experience that makes it a stellar example of the genre done exceptionally. Not only do Wolfpack earn their band’s name with pure punishment, they substantiate the bold claims made by their latest full length album.

Instrumentally, Wolfpack truly do liken themselves as more of a “heavy metalcore” band than anything else. Built on a solid foundation of bouncy, bold percussion and grisly, grotesquely low bass, Wolfpack’s breakdowns hit harder than a freight train crashing through ten brick walls; however, the fretwork prevalent throughout None Above/None Equal is distinctly metallic, taking every opportunity to slice deep trenches in the listener’s flesh with riffs sharper than razor wire. “Hang the Traitors” is an excellent example—pummeling the listener with quick, crushing drum lines while the band’s guitarists carve up the listener like a stuck pig. “Sew Your Lips” is a more varied track—where the quintet’s proclivity for punishing slams and breakdowns reaches a tedious equilibrium with their penchant for pointed, scalding riffs. “Scape(God)” continues this trend, as does the dynamic album closer “The Gold Cult.” Tracks like these showcase the band’s clear hardcore roots, while still highlighting their metallic song structure and love for huge, catchy riffs.

Wolfpack’s metallic influence is strong with their instrumentation, but their vocalist brings the beefy, thick vocals that make None Above/None Equal a true hybrid between beatdown hardcore and metal. Relying primarily on gruff, low yells that rarely rise into a mid-range shout or piercing scream, Wolfpack’s frontman sounds close to what King Kong might sound like, should the giant fictional ape be able to front a heavy band. “None Above/None Equal” and “Sew Your Lips” are dominating examples of the vocalist’s low range, hardly straying from a bitter growl at all. “Death Patrol” is an infinitely more varied display of vocal prowess—as is “Scape(God),” which features a furious guest spot from the voice of beatdown giants, Desolated. True enough—Wolfpack’s frontman may not be the most diverse vocalist heavy music has ever seen—but he is definitely one of the most intense. Every syllable harshly spat sounds as though he put every ounce of hatred he could into it—with his yells on “Cold” and “Sew Your Lips” sounding so visceral, the listener could close their eyes and imagine Wolfpack are performing two feet from where they stand. Wolfpack are a no-nonsense band, and that is as true of their musicianship as it is of their vocal effort.

Critics of beatdown (or metallic hardcore) will be hard pressed to find anything on None Above/None Equal that will change their mind about the genre. Rather, it is an example of mastery over a genre that thrives on—and instigates—malevolence at its finest. Every track Wolfpack chuck at the listener gives them a chance to ruin someone’s day. Even “Cold,” beginning with a subtle introduction, ends in a series of concussive breakdowns that grow exponentially heavier as the seconds wear on. By the time Wolfpack is done with the listener, there will be little left: bones cracked in two and picked clean, with only sinewy shreds of muscle and hair left where there were once functioning organs and visceral fat. Wolfpack are rich in experience when it comes to eviscerating listeners; indeed, where heavy metalcore is concerned, there may be none above, and very few equal. 



For Fans Of: Drowning, Dead End Tragedy, Lionheart, Desolated, World of Pain

By: Connor Welsh