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(56:31, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Haunting 6:28 2. 24/7 5:47 3. Carpathian Wolves 4:57 4. Train's Gone 7:19 5. Now or Never 6:42 6. Mutation 5:54 7. Howling with the Banshee 6:59 8. Our New Media Evil World 12:25 LINEUP: Jean-Pierre Louveton – guitars, bass; vocals Guillaume Fontaine – keyboards Ludovic Moro-Sibilot – drums Julian Clemens – vocals
Prolusion. The French band WOLFSPRING was formed in 2009, initially as a creative vehicle for Jean-Pierre Louveton, also known as a member of Nemo. Fellow bandmate Fontaine decided to join in as well, adding his creative and musical capabilities, with metal drummer Moro-Sibilot and vocalist Clemens taking on the remaining musical duties for this venture. Their self-titled debut album was released in the summer of 2010 by Progrock Records.
Analysis. WolfSpring members describes themselves as belonging to the category of "modern progressive bands that don’t hesitate to join extremes", while still attempting to retain a coherent stylistic expression and crafting a sound of their own. And at least in the latter department, I'd have to say that they are successful, as I can't easily compare them to any other more or less well known artist. Their chosen musical ground does reside somewhere in between hard art-rock and progressive metal and while not really close in sound, comparisons can be made with a band like Presto Ballet. At least I would suspect that those who find either one of them interesting most likely will be intrigued by the other as well. A common denominator for most tracks on this disc is the manner in which the compositions unfold. A distinct theme and style are presented at the onset and the song starts unfolding and evolving and builds up towards a majestic finale. The opening motif will usually be revisited at some point, while the following stages of the song more often will be featured as recurring thematic cycles. A common trait in the development is to introduce the metal-inspired parts at some point into the proceedings, most commonly around the 2 minute mark. While hard art-rock and progressive metal are the basic foundations, WolfSpring does not limit itself to staying solely within those realms. Now or Never features country-inspired atmospheres and what sounds suspiciously like a banjo a bit into the piece. Mutation utilizes electronic metal to good effect, while the keyboard texture present throughout Howling with the Banshee reminded me of Gentle Giant's Aspirations (from “The Power & the Glory”). And as one might surmise, there is a great deal of variation to be found on this CD. But while there are different sounds, textures and motifs aplenty, hard rock, heavy art-rock and progressive metal are the defining parts of this excursion; everything is set up to develop towards the inclusion of the harder sounding motifs. All aspects of this production herald great skill in terms of songwriting and performance. And while the style may not be fully developed at this stage, Louveton and his compatriots have crafted a solid and often intriguing initial effort with this self-titled production.
Conclusion. Those who generally find heavy art-rock as well as progressive metal to be interesting will most likely enjoy the musical universe WolfSpring has made a first go at exploring with this disc. The emphasis on strong atmospheres and distinct moods over technical virtuosity and challenging compositional features should appeal to those who enjoy listening to bands like the aforementioned Presto Ballet, and I'd hazard a guess that followers of Porcupine Tree might also find WolfSpring to be an interesting acquaintance.
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