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Wolverine - Communication Lost CD (album) cover

COMMUNICATION LOST

Wolverine

 

Progressive Metal

3.79 | 167 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Communication Lost' - Wolverine (8/10)

Just when I thought all of the fresh talent in prog metal was hiding towards the more extreme side of the spectrum, I am introduced to this band, the Swedish quintet Wolverine. Although this is the band's fourth album to date, 'Communication Lost' will likely be the first that many hear of the band, due to the greater publicity they have received for it. Although I am rarely one to fall into the trap of hype, Wolverine was certainly a band I had heard great things about from more than a couple music experts.Although I was expecting Wolverine to fall into the same rut of Dream Theater or Symphony X that so many melodic prog metal bands do, the change of pace here is refreshing, and while not an entirely new breath of fresh air than what I have already heard in the style, Wolverine do plant themselves as one of the last vestiges of hope in a style that I personally think got tired over a decade ago.

My personal cynicisms for melodic prog metal aside, Wolverine are a truly impressive act, and the fact that I find myself so endeared to them with all things considered should be a testament to their strength as an act. Musically, Wolverine is not such a far cry from compatriots Pain of Salvation; their music is heavy at times, but always melodic, and resists the temptation to become an overly technical wankfest a la Dream Theater. Instead, Wolverine bases 'Communication Lost' around the long lost art of proper songwriting; their music uses sometimes complex musicianship, but it is always based in a tight composition, and this really grabs my attention. The vocals here are often the center of attention atop tasteful instrumentation, the atmosphere is kept somewhat dark and melancholic throughout, and- coming as a surprise to someone that was expecting a metal album- tastefully mellow. Wolverine is instead heavy prog rock throughout most of this, although I would have to say that the vocals keep a metallic tinge to the music. Stefan Zell's voice is generally a lower register tenor, with a stern tone to his delivery. His real highlights are when he goes and hits higher notes, which he does beautifully; one really wonders why he doesn't sing up there more, because his high register stuff is much more impressive.

The songwriting here is generally the highlight of the album. Everything is beautifully produced and polished, but the sound stays organic; a sure sign of a successful studio job. The songwriting really caught my attention from the first listen onwards though; while the atmosphere that Wolverine makes on 'Communication Lost' rarely becomes upbeat or cheery, they get the sadness across with a variety of different sounds. 'Pulse' is one of the most memorable tracks here, using some lively electronics to create a hook. 'Into The Great Nothing' makes perfect use of those upper pitch vocals that Stefan Zell does so well, and gets fairly heavy, only to be trailed by a nice acoustic passage in 'Poison Ivy'. The highlight moments on 'Communication Lost' are brilliant, although it would have been nice to hear even a couple more of them as the album progresses. The album is one of the most consistent records I have heard throughout the year, but it does feel like Wolverine keeps their sound a little too restrained; still a vast preference from the overindulgent noodling that the Dream Theater clones adhere themselves to, but 'Communication Lost' could have used a little more of the great, powerful heaviness that they only seem to hint at here. All the same, it gets me excited to see what else that the band has in store.

Wolverine are a band that I was not expecting to impress me, but they did well to leave an impression on me; 'Communication Lost' is an expansive collection of tracks that all succeed in delivering some sort of dark quality to them. Although I could still draw some Pain of Salvation comparisons to the band, they do have a more adventurous sound going for them than much prog metal, and they have been placed on the map for me after hearing what they have to offer from 'Communication Lost'.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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