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2 Wolves - Shelter (2014) - Review

Band: 2 Wolves
Album title: Shelter
Release date: 24 October 2014
Label: Inverse Records

01. Freedom Of Two
02. Surrounding Fields And Stars In The Sky
03. Wake Of Beauty
04. Scar Collection
05. Visitors
06. Serpentine Paths In The Autumn Night
07. Shelter
08. The Lake Of Black Swans

There really were not a lot of mesmerizing gothic metal albums released lately, don't you think the same, and I hoped to get my satisfaction with the new album from Finnish quartet 2 Wolves. Considering the fact that Shelter is already the bands fourth studio album I'm a bit ashamed to confess that this is my first encounter with their music, so I had to spend some time discovering their past endeavours. 2 Wolves were formed in 2010 and regarding to this fact we must give them credits for their unrelenting creativity. With the new album a band presents quite some changes in their sound, making it more melodic, with much more emphasis on clean vocals. Saying this note that the most notable thing is a change behind the main vocals as the main vocalist Ilkka Valkonen left the band just before the recordings on new album started and guitarist Aleksi Susi took over the harsh vocals while the other guitarist, Ossi Viren, steped behind the microphone for the clean ones.

2 Wolves musical output smells so generically Suomi that you can't miss their origins from hundreads of kilometers away. So, I must be truthful and tell you that you won't discover anything new, rather than that be prepared for just another typical melodic melancholic gothic metal album with influences that goes into doom and death metal. Musically speaking the band dwells in the waters previously discovered by many of their country mates like Amorphis, To/Die/For, Entwine, Sentenced, For My Pain, Yearning, Swallow The Sun,... Still, the instrumental side is pretty satisfaying, always keeping the melody at the highest grade, and with the melancholic atmosphere all over the band is able to provoke some nice emotional moments. Superficially everything seems quite simple and mellow but there are some intriguing twists, especially when the band implements their sound with some electronic samples, then when heavier mid-paced riffs leave the way to some crushing doom passages or even when the acoustic lines come in front, like in the too short nostalgic album titled instrumental. The main clean vocals are thoroughly very dissaponting, almost irritating and plain, by trying to be emotional and heavy at the same time it simply doesn't work out. Maybe if you liked Jarno Perätalo's way of singing in To/Die/For or Mika Tauriainen's in Entwine, but with a bit more unpolished approach, then this will be for your ears. On a couple of occasions Viren does sing with a bit deeper voice and that is much better, otherwise the band tends to add some heaviness with growling vocals, but what the hell were they thinking when both vocals sing at the same time the same lines? It just doesn't work out.

Beside previously mentioned albums title track I can expose as standouts the semi balladic catchy "Wake Of Beauty", a bit more dramatic "Visitors" with some nice gothy keys and divergent yet well built structure with all the elements of a classy goth/doom metal, then also when the band kicks off with maybe the heaviest hypnotic moment and some psyched out strings at the end of "Serpentine Paths In The Autumn Night" is quite satisfactory. In my opinion 2 Wolves shows their best side in the last one, almost eight minutes long "The Lake Of Black Swans" where their creativity reaches the highest point. Not only the composition of the track, but as well the overall ambiance and diversity of elements used, especially the last three minutes of the song are kind of a flawless gothic doom metal that could be as well taken off, for example from the great Swallow The Sun's last album Emerald Forest And The Blackbird. But this is just not enough...

So, all in all Shelter is just another try to bring back the glory days of Suomi gothic metal but it doesn't reach anywhere further than to be just another one of many repetitions of that typical "made in Finland" gothic metal things, and to say the truth we heard many better things before. Of course if you are a fan of before mentioned bands as references than I suggest you to give it a try. Well, from my side I can say that it didn't quenched my hunger after a good gothic metal album.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 6,5/10