Anyway, enough about the genre, let's talk about one of the most recent releases. This one come to us from Wolf Counsel, a heavy quartet from Zürich, Switserland. Of all the doom bands I've heard in the past few years, they are the one that finally reminds me of Type O Negative, but we're not finished there. This debut album is crammed with roaring guitar riffs that seem to pay hommage to the grandiose sounds of the seventies, eighties and nineties. Bands like My Dying Bride, Candlemass and Electric Wizard also often come to mind, as well as some vintage hard rock bands, like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
The album opens with 'The Gathering', which actually really is a gathering of howling wolves. Somehow this seems like an odd way to start an album but it works, it grabs the listener's attention immediately. And if that doesn't do the trick, 'Visions' will. This track, along with most of the following, is a prime example of crushing yet melodic doom metal. As usual, they drive on a massive set of groovy riffs and pummeling drums. 'Wolf Counsel', the song, sounds as if it has travelled from decades ago to teach us again how this music should be played.
Vol 1 offers almost fifty minutes of pure doom pleasure, dark enough to put a grin on every fan of the genre. My favourite track is 'Battles', which somehow makes me a bit melancholic and a bit nostalgic towards the summer festivals I used to visit back in the nineties. Both in the music and in the vocals Wolf Counsel delivers a tremendous amount of variation. The vocals remind me of old Tiamat, another band that I used to adore back then. 'Now Is Here', another favourite, is a absolutely devastating song with some of the scariest vocals on the album.
I admit, all these references don't really make Wolf Counsel sound very original but somehow it is this combination of various doom subgenres and mild predictability that make this an outstanding and highly enjoyable album. In all, Vol 1 is clearly one of the highlights of 2015. In all its heaviness this music is very refreshing and a welcome addition to the contemporary doom metal genre. I can't wait to see these guys on stage...