WOLVERINE
"Still"

(Candlelight)

01. A House Of Plague
02. Bleeding
03. Taste Of Sand
04. Nothing More
05. Sleepy Town
06. Liar On The Mount
07. Hiding
08. This Cold Heart Of Mine
09. And She Slowly Dies

RATING: 9/10

When the waves of despondency chill you to the bone and you're repeatedly asking yourself, "What in the world is wrong with me, I was a shiny happy person a few minutes ago?" chances are that WOLVERINE's new masterpiece "Still" is playing in the background. When emotions are stirred this intensely, there can be no other explanation. On its third album, the Swedish band delivers in ways that transcend mere musicianship and songwriting.

Stylistically, one is treated to progressive rock with wonderful melodies and an ethereal air that recalls groups like KATATONIA and ANATHEMA. There is much to enjoy on this 52-minute opus, beginning with one of the album's standout tracks, "A House of Plague". Launching into wispy chords and a FLOYD-ish lead, the song features comparatively meatier guitars and builds tremendously to the infectious chorus. "Bleeding" moves in a similar vein, albeit with a dreamier delivery that includes beautiful acoustic playing and keys, as well as heavier riffing on the main verse. "Liar on the Mount" can also be included in the heavier grouping, its tough main riff and tuneful chorus peppered with samples from our beloved American president. The lyrical analogy likening drowning from the sadness that washes over a man that has been barraged with broken promises and outright lies is both clever and mentally unsettling.

WOLVERINE is equally strong at sticking solely to the mellow and the melancholy. The acoustic strumming and piano on "Hiding" is cold and precise, while "Taste of Sand" flows like a stream. Those dealing with the depression of losing a job, a home, or a loved one had best steer clear of "Nothing More", the album's height of loneliness and despair. "Sleepy Town" possesses a kind of English goth and pop sensibility that gives the track a slightly different vibe from the remainder of the disc.

"Still" works because the band is so in tune with the creation of mood. And yet the album is much more than dreamy soundscapes and atmospheric sadness. The sense of melody is first rate and vocalist Stefan Zell has an emotive voice that will bring the most hardened among you to your knees. These are songs you will remember long after you've put the disc on the shelf. "Still" is a moving album from a talented group of musicians and songwriters. Expect to see it on the year-end top 10 lists of critics the world over.

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