For decades, heavy music has always had a stigma associated to it; after all, many people tend to assume rather than actually learn the depth and detail behind things they don’t necessarily understand. That doesn’t mean there aren’t certain aspects of that stigma that are wrong because like it or not, stereotypes exist due to a continuity of action being associated to that stereotype over and over again. The fortunate thing is that a once established idea can slowly be changed over time through acceptance or understanding, and that is the trend heavier music has been making in waves the past 5 or 10 years. What was once frowned upon is now slowly being integrated into more mainstream sounds and when combined, people are discovering entire new realms of sounds that they once shunned. Out of this, new artists are arising and one such outfit is Minneapolis metalcore outfit Out Came the Wolves who hope to use their debut album, Strange Fate, as a medium to connect with anyone from any culture around the world.
In order to accomplish their goal of creating music as a medium, the first aspect lies within presenting a sound that listeners will appreciate and want to come back to – which they do quite well. Strange Fate is a varied album at its core and one that is innately difficult to label into one specific genre. It features the song structure and lyrical content of modern rock with pop sensibilities while containing the instrumental aspects and vocal diversity of modern day metalcore. The instrumentation comes at listeners with a hammering pulse as crunchy riffs, rhythmic basslines and toe-tapping drumming drives the music home while vocal styles go back and forth, but dissuade from the typical harsh verse, clean chorus expectation. Furthermore, there’s different approaches to the vocals throughout on the entirety of the album, found immediately on the opener “96” which has a very raw, under-produced scream before soft-sung verses come into play. The choruses are where the vocals hit a high and explode with energy and this approach carries over from track to track, albeit in different facets for each song.
Out Came The Wolves official audio for their track ‘Baby Blue’ from their debut album Strange Fate – OUT NOW on Roadrunner Records.
Tracks like “Queen Mary”, the title track / interlude “Strange Fate” and “The Curse” present a haunting, dark and subdued atmosphere that is strangely inviting while others like “Baby Blue” and “Skin & Bone” thrive off of massive choruses and anthemic sounds. These different approaches reveal a hidden layer to the music that gives it a very raw and down to earth feeling which only helps further drive home the desire of creating music as a medium, inevitably connecting with everyone. While there are a few layers to be found and what is presented is solid, Strange Fate ultimately seems to lack that “it” factor or a true moment that will make listeners ears perk up and tell their friends this is something they must hear. Even after multiple listens to the record, it’s still hard to pinpoint Out Came the Wolves strongest representation of themselves, be it the heavy hitting “Kodiak” or “ILoveHateYou” or the soft, electronic and atmospheric driven closer “Lowland Hum”.
With their debut album Out Came the Wolves had a point to prove and a message to spread and when it boils down to it, they achieved what they set out to do. Strange Fate is a varied and complete collection of songs that gets straight to the point – that is, showing the world a small taste of what they’re actually capable of. Oddly enough, that’s also the biggest fault of the record as they ultimately have spread their wings bringing in a vast array of influences, styles and different approaches just missing the right balance between cohesion and variation. For a debut record Out Came the Wolves put on a display of immense talent and songwriting capability which will leave listeners wanting more and giving hope for a stronger focused, but still varied follow-up in the next few years.