Aug 212023

(In the review below, DGR explains at length why he has had so much dumb fun with the latest Werewolves album, which Prosthetic Records released earlier this month.)

Credit where credit is due: Werewolves know exactly what they’re doing in their year-over year churn to see just how much the metal community is willing to let them get away with.

They continue their hot streak of fantastic album titles with their newest release entitled My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me, and when you open one of your videos with a set of knuckles being literally dragged across the ground, the ability to plead the fifth on the accusation of having fun with just how dumb they make their music flies right out the window.

Photo by Rob Brens

Few bands out there can get away with being as single-dimensioned as Werewolves are, and since we’ve all gotten three albums and an EP prior to experience the band – though that EP has since found most of its music, save for the cover songs, making its way onto the albums proper – we have a pretty good idea of just where the band are going to take their music. They’ve even managed to stick to the “Nine songs, sub-thirty-five minutes” formula that was sketched out upon the release of The Dead Are Screaming back in 2020.

They’re going to focus on near-ceaseless blast-heavy brutality, with hatred for humanity being the primary motivator. It’s an adrenaline rush of utter stupidity and it hasn’t changed one bit with My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me. If anything, the more increasingly interesting part about a Werewolves album is listening – much in the same way one might watch a ‘One-cut’ fight scene or movie for stealthy editing breaks – for the times wherein the band try to make it so that drummer Dave Haley doesn’t pass out behind the kit from utter exhaustion.

Because the thing with Werewolves‘ music is that the musicians involved have other projects that are much higher-minded or equally insane. The roster of bands that the three-piece play in outside of this particular union of idiocy is a list of groups that are all angular, head-turning, technical as all hell, or just equally as bugfuck as Werewolves can get.

So, it makes a twisted sort of sense that after all that they’d be experts in what they make here, which is a near-relentless heaping of deathgrind riffs, one on top of the other, or endless black metal-esque guitar leads that are played over a hyper-fast death metal blasting section while the vocal attack continually roars over the top of it. It’s the classic television golden retriever process of death metal music: All action, zero thought.

In fact, you can look at track times for the album and know which ones will be the ‘slow’ songs on My Enemies Look And Sound like Me by checking to see if they go over five minutes in length. Anything packed within the neat three and a half to four minute range? That’s just rifle fire with a guitar layered over the top of it.

Are there things to adore on My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me? Yeah. It’s not like things got ‘worse’ between albums, especially when there’s a sneaking suspicion the band might be doing these in blocks of recording. My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me shares a lot of DNA with From The Cave To The Grave beforehand, so when you’re deep into the “No Fun/No Mosh/No Mercy!” segment of opener “Under The Ground” it’s kind of like settling right back into a comfortable couch. “Brace For Impact” could easily pass as an alternate universe take on “Mission Statement” from What A Time To Be Alive, and you can easily see where a lot of this writeup will travel.

Werewolves struck upon a hell of a vein of impressively mean music and are going to mine that thing for as long as they can. If anything, it seems like every album is them having fun with seeing just how much more ‘violent’ they can make things. When you start at near-nuclear musically, the only place to go is to lean more and more into it, and that’s what they do throughout My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me.

“Neanderhell” for its joyfully stupid title, has a lot of fun with the multi-pronged vocal attack and guitar bombing run approach and segues equally well into the now-promoted-to-album status of “I Hate Therefore I Am”. By that we mean, most Werewolves songs only end because the band stop in the same way a truck crashing into a wall ‘stops’. The next song starts again much in the same way that truck would fall if, say, that wall were positioned to stop someone from driving over a cliff. You basically start mid-descent and the rest of the song is the accelerated dive straight into the future home of a crater.

On the slower and more foreboding side of things you do have “Destroyer Of Worlds” smack dab in the center of this year’s nine-song party, which for all of a whole minute or so actually makes it seem like Werewolves are going to drift into apocalyptic atmospheres. It’s an intriguing change of pace after the first four songs have been more than happy to pile-drive the listener deeper and deeper into the dirt. Hence why it seems like the Werewolves crew may actually be aware that they’re at risk of having a drummer whose shirt they could wring out and fill a bucket by the time a set is done.

It’s actually impressive just how hard the first double-bass roll of the song hits in “Destroyer Of Worlds”, because from that hefty moment of weight-throwing the song accelerates further and further until you’re right back into the hyperspeed snarl and poetry that you’d expect from the band for the mid-section. There’s fifteen words uttered at the bridge of “Destroyer Of Worlds” for instance, and of those around 60% of it is the word “Fuck”.

It’d be a lie if we didn’t admit that “Destroyer Of Worlds” – for as much fun as we’re having romping around in its entrails – is a highlight moment of My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me. Cycling back around on itself makes the whole adventure feel ‘complete’ as opposed to the stopping point of ‘oh, there is no face left to hold up to the belt sander, guess we’re done with this one’.

If you want a good one for that latter kind of experience, may we point you toward “I Knew Nothing Then And I Know Less Now”. Of the grinder crew that make up the bulk of My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me, that one manages to crank the dial just a little harder for the band. It’s one of the ‘meaner’ songs on an album that has a lot of fun with the idea of being ‘mean’. That final stop before the song closes out is almost neck-snap worthy.

With My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me, Werewolves continue to be a fascinating exercise in just how far they can push into the world of stupidly brutal. Four albums of ‘nine songs, about thirty five minutes’ makes them one of the better groups out there to just throw on and power yourself forward by the sheer force of the energy they expel. It’s fast, angry, and has long become the trademark with which the band are stamping their career. They edge closer and closer every album to batshit absurdity, and if anything, one of the reasons to keep paying attention to them is to just see how hard they’re going to push on the next album – which it would not shock us to see unleashed about this time next year for another nine-song adventure.

Few bands can get away with pulling off this branch of the death and grind tree over and over quite like Werewolves can, and even fewer who can close out a song with the phrase “What the fuck was that” and have it hit with the weight of having a bus fall on your head. While they’re not breaking new ground on My Enemies Look And Sound Like Me, by the end of the album they’ve certainly drilled through to the core of the Earth and are likely an album or two away from poking their heads out of the other side.

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