“What a Time to be Alive” 

by Thor

Melbourne, Australia’s blackened deathgrind power trio WEREWOLVES returns with their sophomore effort, “What a Time to be Alive.”

WEREWOLVES is comprised of Dave Haley, Matt Wilcock, and Sam Bean -- three longtime Aussie extreme-metal stalwarts whose collective experience lends “What a Time to be Alive” a sophistication and polish that belies the fact that the band is only a couple years old.  Stylistically, the band plays mostly fast and classic dual-vocal death metal.  However, there are overt grindcore influences all over the place and some subtle black metal touches present as well.  Musically, WEREWOLVES is pretty reminiscent of Florida’s HATEPLOW from a generation ago and Music’s befouled underbelly is better off for it.

Conceptually, this album is way more grind than it is death.  Song’s such as “I Don’t Like You,” “Antisocial,” and “Traitors and Bastards” reveal the topical gist at hand.  For me, piss and vinegar always plays well within this musical context, not to mention the punk catharsis it provides amid the global misery we’ve all endured over the past year. 

The production quality of “What a Time to be Alive” is top notch.  The band has captured their brutal brew with a clarity that accurately translates their speed and precision.  In fact, that might be the only detraction for me, if I’m looking really hard for one.  It’s polished and perfected to an extent that may make the album skew away from the visceral and cling to the almighty grid, instead.  But criticizing an album for sounding too good isn’t a hill I’m willing to die on, either so make what you will of that information.

WEREWOLVES’ “What a Time to be Alive” is an excellent onslaught of frightening speed and intensity that will appeal to fans of bands like HATEPLOW, ROTTEN SOUND, BROKEN HOPE, and CRYPTOPSY.  Bottom line is it will leave you needing to be scraped from the wall.