Reviewed by Meghan Player
When a band history boasts the words: Download Festival, Matt Hyde and ‘the UK answer to the Foo Fighters’, you can be assured you’re on the path to something good. Such is the case for Fighting Wolves and their incredible debut album, Chapter One.
Kicking off with the grandiose, almost cinematic style of The End, the band immediately grab your attention – with the crunching guitars creating a wall of sound that builds into a blistering, whirring climax once it reaches the chorus. And the good times don’t stop.
Give Me A Sign is as anthematic as its predecessor, albeit with a turn towards the Californian punk rock/reggae vibe that weaves its way throughout the track. Drumming up an air of old school Unwritten Law, the sound provides a perfect balance of melody; clean and simple.
Proving not to be a one-trick pony, I Won’t Back Down shifts gears and sees the band move towards a rock ballad of sorts. While the change in style and tempo is executed almost effortlessly, the intensity of the previous tracks seems to falter – seemingly breaking up the mosh pit that started the album.
As if not to leave us hanging, the notch gets turned up to eleven with Just To Feel Alive – with the track delivering a severe punk rock “kick in the teeth”, that you can’t help but love. The ‘bounce’ of the guitars instantly calls to the nostalgia of your youth – and that So-Cal region – before ending in a flash of brilliance.
It’s by the time you reach the mid-way point of the album, that the band begin to explore new sounds, with Breathe In: Breathe Out and Long Time stirring currents of electronica into their ensuing melodies. Once again, it’s in the vocals that the band prove their prowess – with Paul Blue‘s gravelly vocals perfectly matching the whirring soundscape.
As the album continues, the tracks show no indication of slowing down or leaving quietly, with the Foo Fighters-esque Scared Of Flying belting out of your speakers, whilst the military style riffage of The Warrior echoes the big, classic rock sound that you might find on a track like U2‘s Where The Streets Have No Name.
Undoubtedly, Chapter One is an album that has it all. It’s diverse, without being overcomplicated. Simple, without being dull. The vocals and melodies are wonderfully nostalgic, but ultimately breathe new life into a sound that never seems to go out of style.
My hat goes off to Fighting Wolves, this album is stunning.