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Wolves Like Us: Black Soul Choir

Blackened punk rock fury from Oslo

Punk rock lifers with deep roots in the Norwegian hardcore and metal underground, Wolves Like Us have pedigree, poise and an intuitive feel for the form.

Following on from 2011’s excellent Late Love, the Oslo quartet’s second full-length release takes its cues from the snapping, clutch-and-release dynamics of mid-90s US post-hardcore – Quicksand, Handsome, Snapcase, Orange 9mm – but supplements that scene’s economical, precision-tooled thrust with expertly deployed layers of gnarled noise and bared-teeth melodicism.

As with their pals and former tourmates Kvelertak, the Wolves bring a genuine sense of adventure to their roaring, rolling attack, and Black Soul Choir is all the better for it. Lovescared is all eerie, backwoods acoustic atmospherics, the eight-minute Thantos Wins Again stretches into progressive rock spaciness and I Don’t Need To Be Forgiven tips a hat to early 80s post-punk with its high-tensile basslines and brooding, noir ambience.

And, while hardly the genre’s most gifted or versatile vocalist, charismatic frontman Larsh Kristensen nevertheless brings a rare authority to proceedings, his taut phrasing making the punchy Three Poisons and the Helmet-esque We Were Blood masterful exercises in controlled aggression. A superior record from a gifted, likable band.