At the very heart of rock’n’roll must lurk the innate desire for the smell of the greasepaint and the glare of the floodlights: theatrics must surely form the very DNA of a good band. Wolf & Chain are proving themselves to be the most entertaining and adept purveyors of a whomping style of glam excess, and it is thoroughly cathartic and utterly enjoyable.
Their new EP, ‘Amor Mortal’, is joyous riot: a two pronged attack that stabs you in the eyes and ears. One prong is a vicious out-of-control heavy metal riffage cloaked in thunder and lightning, the other a glam theatrical opera filled with emotive excess and studied poses. Frequently in the EP, both prongs appear within the confines of one song.
Frontman Jack Cumes explains about the dramatic themes contained within these pieces:
The EP explores the themes of Deadly Love; we love even when it’s bad for us, we follow love into dangerous territory, we let love consume us, and we love even if it destroys us. Love can make you feel entirely alive in one moment and completely dead in the next.
The opening track ‘An Introduction’ is a one minute theatrical opener, elegant and poised filled with arched kohl-lined eyebrows. ‘Hex’ then romps in like a herd of musical elephants in a riffage-heavy nuclear bomb blast that eviscerates any cobwebs between the air: a cathartic riot.
The deliciously entitled ‘An Unfortunate Tale of Two Lovers and an Insatiable Taste for Poison’ has all those vital showy ingredients with the added frisson of an on-going tale of drama and romance. This is a band that puts on a show and delivers it through an inherently exciting and thoroughly over the top performance. Cumes is a mesmerising focal point and the accompanying video takes up from the vampyric excess of their previous single ‘A Taste of Blood’ which left us with a cliffhanger as Cumes was kidnapped. Cumes explains:
The video gives insight into the backstory of this tale, how the two characters get mixed up in this madness and become these great opposing forces. It brings the themes from the song and translates them into this dirty, fantastical vampire story. It was really exciting for us to explore other ideas from our collection on ‘Amor Mortal’ in this world and do something grand and atmospheric.
A frenetic pace, slicing guitars and an emo-infused vocal approach with layered harmonies contribute to something fun and energetic – theatrical, almost operatic in its storytelling style, pressing on the brakes for a classical guitar interlude, building up into a crescendo.
‘Far From Home’ has a frenetic madness to the pace: drums pound like an insistent hurricane with as much predictiability and sense of safety. Neck snapping changes of pace make this operatic: movements and chapters, ebbing and flowing like a particular virulent tsunami.
Drenched in a red velvet gothic cape and wallowing in an blood filled bath of emo, ‘Taste of Blood’ is a thoroughly enjoyable dollop of theatricality and swagger, essential ingredients for a bit of cathartic and expressive glam. The accompanying video takes full advantage of this transylvanian fugue with its vampire themed bacchanalian orgy of excess and ultra violence and an enticing cliffhanger.
Cumes explains the meaning behind the track:
Vampires feel like such an appropriate metaphor for this concept of deadly love. Those feelings can often leave you craving them, feeling withdrawals and not sleeping at night. Often romanticised as the idea of spending eternity in love, ‘Taste of Blood’ portrays this concept with a darker tone. What appears to be a tall, dark, brooding stranger with inexplicable feelings of love is actually a bloodthirsty stalker who will do anything to have you as their own forever.
The deep rich gothicism bleeds into the new wave instrumentation, a quiet/loud ethic with strains of an Interpol/Editors spaciousness that explodes into something more shoegazy – dense and driving, circling like a wolf pack around prey.
Fasten your seatbelts and apply make-up. This album is a lot of fun.