Bad Wolves – ‘Die For It’

By Katherine Allvey

Bad Wolves should more aptly be named ‘Bad Chameleons’ – they blend in with any other group, from Papa Roach to Meshuggah to Asking Alexandria, the latter of which they’re touring with this autumn, with reptilian ease. They shed their skin with remarkable frequency, dropping on average an album a year and sliding themselves into every component of heavier music. However, for ‘Die About It’, their fourth outing, they’ve decided to shake it up. “We definitely challenged ourselves to experiment, but we maintained a heavier edge,” shared drummer John Broecklin, “We spent a lot of time making sure these songs weren’t all the same, which was important to us. We tried to push the possibilities of what you can do with heavy music. This is as fresh of a start as you can get on your fourth album.” Whilst not wishing to disagree with the writer of the album, ‘Die About It’ feels more like an evolution of their sound than a reconstruction, or more like a house built on the strong foundation of the last few years. 

Advance single ‘Legends Never Die’ was based on noble intentions and thoughts of legacies translated into one heck of a catchy track. “We wanted to write a song for our heroes, whether that’s our children, mothers, fathers or the likes of, sending their stories into eternity, forever igniting spirits and imaginations of those who follow,” according to vocalist Daniel ‘DL’ Laskiewicz, but what emerged is no worthy eulogy to those gone before. There’s thoughtful intricacy in how the samples and riffs are sewn together, depth and versatility in the vocals and, most importantly, a whole lot of pit potential. This theme of personal redemption continues on tracks like ‘Saviour’. “Be my saviour and don’t let go,” begs Laskiewicz before haunting Korn riffs drift in like misty courage. On this track, and many others, Bad Wolves have begun deploying strategic piano-like subtle missiles to add an extra layer of nuance to their message and it’s really working for them as a strategy to show maturity. 

Their other tactic is long introductions – much like thirty second awkward yoga positions – which they then return to as a refrain in the chorus, or to add extra emotion to an instrumental section. For impatient listeners keen to get to the slamming, this will prove frustrating and make some tracks somewhat predictable. However, when the drop does finally arrive on songs like ‘Set You On Fire’ or ‘Hungry For Life’, it’s very much welcome. Bad Wolves are becoming very good at hard, bombastic, riff-heavy guitar tracks. Title track and second single, ‘Die About It’ is bottled nu-metal brutality with a sense of wanting to stomp out injustice. This is the sort of thing that Bad Wolves are now excelling at, not the slow and moody Thirty Seconds To Mars style pauses for thought. That said, Bad Wolves’ collaboration with KILLBOY, ‘It’s You (2 Months)’ is the one exception. It utilises the punk guest vocalist’s input with uncharacteristic softness and delicacy to create a slower track that balances multiple styles without losing a second of focus. 

Bad Wolves have already earned themselves millions of Spotify listens, but it’s practically a certainty that that number will increase exponentially now that their sound has become more refined. They’ve sidestepped the trap of becoming too comfortable in their music and therefore complacent, but they’ve also managed to avoid too much tinkering with the sound that’s earned them such a solid fanbase. ‘Die About It’ is a solid fourth album and another stepping stone towards stadium stardom. It may not set the world on fire or go down in history as a great genre defining classic, but Bad Wolves have shown on this release that they have the kind of energy that could be channelled to such a record if they keep on this path. 

Kate Allvey

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