It’s been seven years in the making, but one can excuse a big chunk of the wait for Copenhagen Rock collective Redwolves’ debut album Future Becomes Past (Argonauta Records). Just over two years ago frontman Rasmus Cundell was the subject of a brutal assault, yet despite the evidence of his scars being littered throughout the album, there’s a paradoxical lightness shining through.
This is demonstrated from the off, opener ‘Plutocracy’ possessing throaty leadwork and gorgeous harmonies atop a near-Occult, mono-like rhythm. The organ riff and pounding drums of the chorus are as addictive as the vocal melodies and make for an engaging opening salvo. The ensuing ‘Rigid Salvation’ is a real Hard Rock joy but is again given added beef by resonant stickwork and a rampant mid-section.
That fuzzy production gives a dirty edge to the overall feel, ‘The Abyss’ housing an angry buzz of riffs and rhythmic bludgeon which is the perfect sour flavouring to the sweet salvation of Cundell’s shrill harmonies which are at times Steve Perry-esque, despite a slightly earthy quality. The cool Blues of ‘Fenris’, meanwhile, a blend of early Rush and eighties UK Hair rockers Shy, is shot through with bar-room drama and is as catchy as this winter’s virus. The mood changes with the eerie, balladic atmospheres of ‘The Pioneer’, and while it’s true that the track’s brooding nature hides some pretty clunky lyrics it’s nevertheless delivered with haunting beauty and a howling coda.
The epic ‘Voyagers’ commences in similar fashion, with early Americana subtleties graced by glorious, Crosby Stills and Nash-style harmonies. When the heightened rhythm begins to swell it’s remarkable how the delicacies remain effective, the soft yet powerful melodies utterly irresistible. In this wonderful track the retro qualities are its ultimate strength: the blend of beauty and power testament to Led Zeppelin at their finest, Cundell’s vocal performance jaw-dropping, the drops from plundering bluster to pensive depth both dramatic and completely organic.
The Perry vocal makes a return in the phenomenally itchy ‘Farthest From Heaven’, where the riffs of the chorus are positively Blackened yet the pensive middle is nu-Metal influenced, the feel switching from Spring to Winter in an instant, soaring harmonies cascading into post-Metal tundras. It fires into the more progressive closer ‘Temple Of Dreams’ which plays the dry heaviness of the Atacama Desert against a blustery Indie sharpness, and where the melody meets the power in perfect alchemy.
It’s bizarre to feel that there’s nothing new about this album when it’s so fresh, so immediate, so full of hooks yet pregnant with emotion and so gloriously played out. It’s a wondrous blend of the modern and the classic, the heavy and the light, the future and the past.
8 / 10