Bart M. : Blackwülf, the fourheaded stoner metalband from Oakland brings us their next offering: 'Sinister Sides'. Opening song 'Gate Of Sorrows' instantly gives us a glimpse of the dark, sinister side and makes it quite evident...well, actually, nothing more becomes evident than that we're dealing with a band that with a well placed respect for the past is putting down their own sound. The best way to put it is with a comparison: when I listen to this album I see before me a huge, ponderous, armored earthworm that, right under the surface, lumbers on and occasionally touches the surface; and when it does, the proverbial chicken that is running along with it at equal speed on the surface makes a wildly unexpected jump upwards. The earthworm is the deliciously, almost Saint Vitus-like rhythm section and the chicken is the solo guitar. It reminded me of something, that guitar, and I walked around all day with its tune in my head, until eventually I realized it was the amazing guitarwork of 60's rockband Gun ('Race With The Devil')! Blackwülf seamlessly blends a lot of the good old days with the modern side of doom metal. Especially the vocals are evident of this. I must admit I had to get used to them. I love a voice that manages to move me with just a few words (like Stainthorpe does) and Alex Cunningham's doesn't do that. But, truth be told, after a couple of listens his honest vocals managed to move me anyway. Just listen to 'Waiting On Tomorrow' to know what I'm talking about. Close your eyes and listen to those lyrics. I can honestly say I fell in love with Cunningham's vocals, in combination with this music.
There are more than a few songs on this album that are more than average. A lot of them sound like (very original) tributes to Sabbath ('Dead To The World') and Saint Vitus and there's an obvious Pentagram influence as well (also because Geof O'Keefe plays along with some of the songs on this album), but nowhere is there any plagiarism, not even when they're playing a cover of Cream's 'Sunshine Of Your Love'. This cover fits in well with the other songs but doesn't really add anything to the whole; nevertheless it's always worth a bunch when modern bands pay tribute to those who went before. Blackwülf doesn't follow any guidelines and this, plus their awesome sound, makes them unique!
O'Keefe will join them onstage to promote this album and I expect (that sounds as if I'm going to be there, but alas) it will certainly add to their sound. Blackwülf sounds amazing with two guitarists but from what I've seen online they sound just as good in their original lineup. Keep an eye on this band, they are sure well worth looking out for.