Hour of the Wolf
Hour Of The Wolf is the first full-length album by eclectic rock trio Riverblind. Spanning over 50mins and 8 tracks, this album showcases both the compositional and playing talents of these three young men. The songs are long and captivating, expertly played with an intensity that draws you deep into a carefully crafted sonic world. Mute Signals opens the album with a rhythmic vocal chant that increases in intensity and as the rest of the band kicks in the effect of climbing tension is electrifying. At this point it seems reminiscent of some of the more modern King Crimson, but the band sidestep this comparison the moment the tension is released. Now the scene is beautifully simple and soulful. The unexpected, we shall learn is to be expected, while never compromising the steady journey of the song. Unsettled Scenes stands out as most likely single with it's percussive opening and gorgeous string arrangement in the chorus. It is odd though to find that this catchy number uses the normally undanceable time signature of 7/8 in it's very groovy verse section. Somehow these three manage to make the inaccessible accessible. Following The Blind, immediately after Unsettled Scenes, is perhaps the least accessible of all the songs with and opening section that requires two calculators to fully examine. Yet somehow, again, it grooves. Expect the unexpected without compromise of listenability. While this track takes a little bit more work than others, with a peak section as grand as this one, the extra effort is more than worth it. After that, the common time in Veils sounds positively poppy. But at 6 and a half minutes you know it won't be quite that simple. This is an epic on the scale of Muse at it's peak. Complete with soaring Buckley-esque vocals and whammy infused guitar, this song cranks. The title track Hour Of The Wolf is the longest of these beasts, clocking in at 8mins, yet somehow never feels too long. It is arguably the most well crafted composition on the album taking listeners on a journey that is both intensely brooding and gloriously uplifting by song's end. Riverblind put what they have learned from their influencers to great use in this song. The opening section features a spacious and shifting bassline that would make Colin Greenwood of Radiohead proud. A later section connects us again with some of the most intense King Crimson moments. And the stratosphere is pierced with Muse style abandon. Overall this is an album of finely crafted epics, complex and daring, yet never once losing sight of the importance in connecting with the listener. The progressive elements and there to enhance the emotional impact of the journey, not to distract from it. There are certainly challenging moments, but the reward is available for those willing to lose themselves in the Hour Of The Wolf.