Gnarwolves - Gnarwolves (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Gnarwolves (2014)

Big Scary Monsters

Occasionally bands come around who seem to immediately jump into the spotlight of their scene. For the UK punk scene, that band has been the Brighton trio Gnarwolves. They have gone from strength to astronomical strength, starting out on the usual support slots; now playing main stage at Reading and Leeds.

Their self—titled debut is ten tracks long, and most of them skirt around the two—minute mark. No surprises there. "Prove It" starts the record off in standard Gnarwolves fashion. Dark guitar riffs, aggressive vocals, pummeling drums. In its second half, the track slows down into a pounding outro. Standout track and lead single "Smoking Kills" goes in the same direction, ending with a huge singalong.

The trio of "Hate Me," "Ebb" and "Flow" is the most interesting and refreshing part of the record. "Hate Me" starts off in the usual fast way, before ending on a soft, melodic note, leading into the intro of "Ebb" which sounds unlike anything the band have previously released. It slowly builds up into "Flow," which is one of the most exciting songs, with its catchy refrain of "sometimes I need you more than others" and its use of the band's dual vocalists.

Moving away from the pop—punk influences of their early releases, this new record feels more similar to bands such as A Wilhelm Scream and The Flatliners with whom they've shared the stage quite often in the last couple of years. The guitar is melodic with dark tones, while the drumming is solid and consistent. The vocals weave throughout, giving both singers a chance to shine.

While CRU was catchy and poppy, Funemployed built on that and added a darker edge. Both of those releases which flung the band into new found success always felt like short collections of songs, but this new record cements itself as a solid cohesive effort. On the whole, the hype which Gnarwolves received seems to be justified. It's not the most stunning release of the year, but it's a great step up for the band, seeing them push themselves as musicians, rather than rehashing their early EPs, which they could have done and been just as successful.