Blood of the Wolf
IV: The Declaration of War

Back in 2018, I covered Blood of the Wolf‘s second opus, II: Campaign of Extermination and it was /is still a fucking ripper of a record delivering some truly blood-pumping, war-mongering black/death metal that put them pretty high on the heap of the genre (“With Fire and a Thousand Flashing Blades” still makes me want to stomp kittens).

I missed part II, the EP, Blood Legend, but here we are with part III, now on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions (who also released  I: The Law of Retaliation and part II as a compilation in 2018), and the 3-year wait was totally worth it as The Declaration of War is indeed a fucking heralding of war upon all those that are listening.

At a short but perfectly savage 36 minutes, The Declaration of War is 9 ravaging tracks that cull from fellow Chicagoans, Forest of Impaled, the UKs Spearhead, mid-era Behemoth, Hate, and other black-tinged death metal acts. Big burly, furious, militant death metal riffs and vocals with some scathing black metal structures and tremolo-picked riffage.

It gets right the fuck to it with “With Lightning for Vengeance” and doesn’t let up. The second track “Father War Enthroned” has some Romanic/ ADE / Imperivm vibes and delivers sonic barbarity fitting the war and butchery the video above portrays perfectly.  I kept waiting for a requisite militant marching song, but ” Domination Decree”, “The Sword Everlasting”  and “Their Blood is Our Warpaint’ just kept peeling my flesh, though the latter has a bit of a slow section early on. But otherwise, there is nary a respite until we get to “From Kingdom to Collapse” where I can finally take a breath with a slower, churning number.

Then it’s back to the ferocious flesh peeling with “Ritual Overkill” and one of my favorites from the album ” I Am the Blade of Eradication”, which has a mix of pure blistering ferocity and a more imposing march, which is where I really start the kitten stomping again. The killer closing title track rounds things out with some sneaky vicious melodies fused into the molten riffs and bellows, ending the album on a savagely epic high note.

The only downside for this release I the mix /master (again from Joe Tiberi) seems a little ‘lighter’ or shriller than the prior album, with a little less heft and low end, being more black metal sounding overall. Still, it’s slice your skin sharp, and it doesn’t change the fact that fact the album literally rips from start to finish and shows Blood of the Wolf and one of the US underground’s most lethal acts.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 20th, 2022


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