The album cover on Wolf Blood's self-titled debut is fucking awesome. In the background, poised to sacrifice a nude maiden, is a horned robed figure with two candles lurking in the background. It's ominous, a bit unsettling, and almost archetypal in its recall of religious lore - the Isaac and Abraham story comes quickest to mind. And of course there are dozens of urban legends and verified truths of sacrificial rites in cults and other religious groups. The horns in the picture, in addition to the darkened room, place the viewer into a gothic-lit scenario. Here there be monsters.
Let's face it; the picture fits the ensuing music. The last, and longest, song on the album "Procession of the Witch" ends in agonized wails from the vocalist/drummer Jake, but not before more than ten-minutes of crafty build comes together. It's almost double the length of the next longest song, "Dancing on your Grave," which clocks in at nearly seven minutes, though as both harrowing and rewarding as anything else on the record, and an excellent way to close out an album. Upon first hearing the final two minutes of the record, I couldn't help be reminded of the mysterious, quasi-violent cover of the record. And that's when I knew that the man in horns was really planning on killing that girl.
There is a psychedelic bend to the album too. In the movie realm, this record would be more like Dario Argento's Suspiria or Inferno than a Lon Chaney jr. movie. The band isn't happy with simply being brutal - there are moments of levity too, such as the snaking lead guitar of the aforementioned "Dancing on your Grave." Don't get me wrong, they're still serious as cancer, but this kind of sonic variety is often a reminder that the band can not only play their instruments well, but aren't going to sit pretty while a doom metal riff plows the listener into the ground. Rather than compromise for comfort, the band embraces tempo change to make a song more effective,
Pick it up on Roadburn Records for some dynamite Halloween listening.