Review: To Speak of Wolves – Myself < Letting Go

Artist: To Speak of Wolves
Album: Myself < Letting Go
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Solid State

Forming from the ashes of previous successful bands, To Speak of Wolves is a collaborative force of prior talents. This combined effort fuses a mix of aggressive elements with meandering melody and an uncompromising expression of beliefs.  After inception they signed to Tragic Home Records and quickly released their debut ep, Following Voices. This release proved their potential but they carried a stigma of being labeled as an inexperienced, present day Underoath. Following Voices also displayed the band’s incohesion as a unit but after a myriad of line up changes To Speak of Wolves have finally settled with one that works. With a revamped line up set they are nearing the release of their first full length album, Myself < Letting Go, on Solid State.

To Speak of Wolves exhibits a matured musicianship and strengthened song writing ability on Myself < Letting Go. They also increased their melodic tendencies and added more clean singing to their otherwise persisting heavy persona. These changes alone enable Myself < Letting Go to exceed anything on their first ep. The album kicks off promisingly with, “Darkness Often Yields the Brightest,” which immediately sets the tone the rest of the album tends to stick closely to. The track opens with raw sounding drums that kicks up to a full assault of harsh vocals and intense riffing. One of the most prominent distinguishing traits this album has over its predecessor is their use of the aforementioned clean singing. Each track incorporates them but most are used to create melodic and catchy choruses. The opening track exhibits the most commendable soaring chorus, as the powerful falsettos sing, “Watching the mountains fall into the sea, head in your hands and stumble to bended knees.” “Trust, But Verify,” also has an exceptionally strong vocal line.

On a lyrical note, To Speak of Wolves have always displayed their faithful ideals and hopeful attitude towards life. Myself < Letting Go continues with this trend, most notably on the second track, “You Should Have Locked Your Door.” After a barrage of buildups and breakdowns the songs conclusion includes the spoken words, “When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found; dressed in His righteous alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” This line was taken from the familiar hymn, “The Solid Rock,” and proves their foundation is built upon their loyal convictions.

A downfall is To Speak of Wolves rarely leave their comfort zone of perpetual song structures and offers little mouthwatering attributes. Aside from a few stand out tracks and notable moments there are a number of tracks that unfortunately fall into mediocrity. “Quercus Alba,” is one that affirms they can deliver enticing arrangements. A deep piano line alongside haunting clean vocals first left trepidation but as soon as the tempo picked up the apprehension flew out the window. The prominent key line is taken over by almost hip-hop beat backdrops.  After the thought provoking line, “The Earth is hard and there are stones beneath my feet. I dig for hours as my hands begin to bleed. My only partner is a light that starts to fade, stay until I’m safe,” you’re struck with an unexpected culmination. The song leaves its subtle atmosphere for heavy, passionate screams. The shock value alone made this track one of the highlights of the album.

Overall, To Speak of Wolves have improved in every aspect but still have yet to fully break free from a predictable battle plan. While the harsh vocals tend to remain in the same range, but the impeccable clean singing and melodic sensibilities are a welcomed addition. Myself < Letting Go’s infrastructure is sculpted by an undeniable message ofhope while weaving back and forth with aggression and melody. This is a commendable release but fails to deliver from start to finish. Since To Speak of Wolves have cultivated their sound in a short amount of time, I can only imagine the strength they will possess on further releases.

Score: 6/10

Review written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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