When industrial metal meets black metal, the results almost always sound diabolical and it often invokes images of a dystopian future ruled by the machines. So when The Electric Hellfire Club guitarist Ricktor Ravensbruck teamed up with Julian Xes of Kult of Azazel to form a industrial black act called Wolfpack 44, the sound the band would be pursuing became quite obvious. What wasn’t obvious however, is how evil and demented the music sounds. The band’s debut outing titled ‘The Scourge’ is 45 minutes of nihilistic industrial dissonance with heavy, Satanic black metal vibes to boot. Describing the music on this album as demonic would be an understatement. Every track on the album is unrelenting in it’s intensity and seldom lets the listener catch his / her breath.
The Wolf is Loose gives the album a dark and chaotic intro, which reflects well with how the rest of the album sounds. This is followed by the pulverizing industrial beats on The Black March and one can easily mistake this for the sounds of a marching mech army. The black metal riffs kick in and the short, sharp riffs blend in flawlessly with the industrial atmosphere to create a tumultuous soundscape. The heavily layered atmosphere packs in so much that it feels claustrophobic. The song writing by Wolfpack 44 is anything but straight forward. The band allows for some cleaner moments on Rituale Romanum, which is followed by some light soloing. This does not last long and the haywire riffs follow suit quite quickly.
The electronic augmentations juxtapose quite nicely with the nihilistic black metal riffs, giving the entire album a modern feel. The album has quite a lot of guest appearances on the album and the one that stands out the most to me is the appearance of Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol (Dark Funeral) on the track Chamber of Nightmares. Wolfpack 44 also exhibits a high degree of versatility on the vocal front, with no one style dominating throughout the length of the album. The band explores the slower and more atmospheric territories of the style on By Serpents Beguiled which also features relatively cleaner guitars and much less chaos. This track and the short instrumental The 18th Enochian Key form the only tranquil moments on this record. To Devil a Daughter sounds like a straight up industrial metal track devoid of any black metal influence. The guest vocals by the brilliant Jinx Dawson of Coven mixes quite nicely with the blackened snarls.
Wolfpack 44 are adept at playing a variety of styles and the band does not hesitate to experiment. The evil, schizophrenia inducing industrial black metal moments are balanced out by moments of weird experimentation, making ‘The Scourge’ a well rounded record. With a strong debut, Wolfpack 44 looks like they’re going to turn a lot of heads in the years to come.