All hail the king of wolves, Wolf King! Wolf King slithers from the darkest depths of the bay area in California. Bitter Bones is what looks like their first full length release and within this sordid pile of metal is nine flesh ripping songs. Wolf King plays metal in the vein of blackened hardcore, and it certainly is blackened to the core. There is everything that you need here between the two genres as Wolf King mixes and mashes them together quite nicely. Bitter Bones offers you the typical smash mouth take no prisoners onslaught which is then injected with poisonous black metal which gives you the spastic hate filled screeching that is black metal.
With combining hardcore and black metal-which seems to be all more relevant now-you create a sound entirely unique. Black metal is already chaotic and at times sounds like no one really knows how to play their instruments as everyone seems content on just thrashing about like mad men. While that isn’t true here since everyone does know how to play their instruments very well, that chaotic blackened energy is still very present, and mixing that with the bombastic play that is hardcore, you end up coming up with Wolf King.
While there are two very metallic and fiery genres at work here, Wolf King incorporate a little bit of the black metal’s atmospheric elements. There are some melancholy bits just like at the end of What is Lef” which creates a certain mood of darkness and sadness. All throughout this release the atmosphere seemingly stays the same, and that atmosphere is one of destruction, bitterness and complete and utter darkness.
Through Bitter Bones, Wolf King always keeps a razor sharp edge about them never wavering from their mission of decapitating you by the end of the nine songs. This blackened hardcore vessel of hate barrels through anything that is in its way and never slows or stops to apologize once. The fact that they are destroying your soul one serpentine riff at a time probably brings a certain joy to their day.
Each of the nine tracks cuts deeply leaving you to bleed black ooze. Leaving a listener no time to recover from such deep lacerations seems to be the theme with Bitter Bones. As one track closes there is another one that starts up immediately and resumes the cutting once more. All of the bombast and explosiveness begins with the opening track Death Swans. After about ten seconds of dissonant sounds, the songs then kicks into gear when the vocalist screams at you at the top of his lungs. After that moment you become sucked into the ever darkening vortex that is Bitter Bones.
Sinister riffs swirl around you frantically thrashing you upside the head whenever they can as the drums pick away at your skull. Once you are completely lobotomized, the bass rattles your brain out of your cranium with its thick bass lines and ever jarring presence. As sinister as the musicianship is, the vocalist ups the ante with the typical black metal blood curdling screams.
Bitter Bones is as dark and possessed as you would hope it would be. And as mentioned above, with the mixture of black metal and hardcore, there really is no escaping the clutches of such an explosive and visceral sound, so don’t try. The musicianship on this release is great, the vocals are marrow chilling, and the overall sound is bleak and dark. If you like pure chaos and destruction, then Wolf King is well worth the listen.