- “Wake Up the Sun”
- “Dog Like Vultures”
- “The Quiet, Deadly Ticking”
- “Merit for Sadness”
- “The Un-Manifest”
- “The Place Where Most Deny”
- “White As Snow”
- “Crush Resistance”
- “Walk With a Crooked Spine”
- “My Name Is Darkness”
Attack of the Wolf King is the fifth studio album from metalcore act Haste the Day, which will be released through Solid State Record on June 29, 2010. This is the first album with the current lineup; the only mainstays from Dreamer are Stephen Keech and Mike Murphy (bass). Added to the group are drummer Guiseppe Capolupo (ex-Once Nothing) and guitarist Dave Krysl (ex-New Day Awakening, Stephen’s old band) and Scotty Whelan (ex-Phinehas). This will be HTD‘s fifth album on Solid State Records since Burning Bridges, their first release in 2004.
The last three records that have featured Stephen on vocals have been quite different from one another and with Attack of the Wolf King the change is for the better. This record shows many accomplished elements of HTD, excellent guitar-work and solid song-writing. New drummer Giuseppe is awesome, and while Devin was a very good drummer for HTD, Giuseppe’s introduction will give the band a fresh feel for years to come. Just when some of us thought HTD might be on its last legs the new members bring another level of ability.
According to front man Stephen Keech “The record is a concept album about a herd of sheep being protected by lions from a pack of bloodthirsty wolves.” Concept albums are always tough, sometimes the concept takes away from the music and starts to get somewhat gimmicky and sometimes the concept is completely lost on the listener. In the case of Attack of the Wolf King the concept of sheep being protected by lions is something that we can relate to, it can be perceived as a metaphor to Christians living in the world today. The songs turn into battle-cries, and when we sing along we are singing with purpose.
While the guitar-work is the most noticeable improvement, the lyrics and attention to song writing is equally as impressive. Stephen really shows a foundation of biblical knowledge on both Dreamer and Attack of the Wolf King, his lyrics are carefully written and once you get a chance to read them along with the record they will make an impact. Some bands use the vocals merely as another instrument in the metalcore genre, and their lyrics lack a sense of purpose and value. Haste the Day is a band that along with a crunching, pit-stomping sound, have brought an inspirational message of Christ’s power and love. Whether they’re chanting “Won’t look back – chains that bound me” or “ For Now – we are here and we are one” Haste the Day really understand how to rally the listener.
My favorite track on the album so far is “Dogs Like Vultures”, a track that blends the harsh aggressive metal sounds of HTD with a beautiful melodic chorus. There is just something great about a heavy crunching sound featuring a chorus with words like “our hearts are softer than the sheep.” On the track “The Quiet, Deadly Ticking” you have some more impressive guitar-noodling on top of some serious chugging that will most likely incite some intense ground-punching!
“Travesty”, the first track released for streaming, also features some heartfelt lyrics “With love that the blindest eyes will see, You cover the darkest part of me.” When I first heard this track I was a little concerned that the new record wouldn’t be heavy enough but tracks like “The Quiet, Deadly Ticking” and “The Un-manifest” feature that old-school feel from Haste The Day, straight-forward, raw pounding metalcore. Track 10, “Walk With A Crooked Spine” has some excellent contrasts throughout the song, with a closing breakdown that is one of the best on the album. Micah Kinard, singer for another Solid State backed metalcore band Oh, Sleeper does some guest vocals on the throwdown track “The Place Where Most Deny”.
As I said earlier, the guitar-work is a major improvement from the previous two records. Very tight melodic parts feature throughout each song, giving the verses a lot of dynamic. Haste the Day sticks to the metalcore blueprint, adding breakdowns to most songs, clean catchy choruses, and aggressive intense verses. It’s not ground-breaking, however the quality of Haste The Day shows on this record. They have combined the good elements from Pressure the Hinges and Dreamer to create an album that is excellent from start to finish.
OVERALL for fans of metalcore this album will be a favorite this year, if you don’t like metalcore (or think it’s a dying genre) then this won’t bring anything new to the table. You won’t find Jimmy Ryan here so we can all stop wishing every album would sound like Burning Bridges, it’s time to move on. Attack of the Wolf King combines the passionate energy of early Haste the Day albums with fresh new talent to give us one of the best releases of the year.