Legendary metalcore act Wolves at the Gate has just dropped their sixth studio album, Eulogies. As consistent as this band has been over the last several years, it is difficult to say if this is their best work— but it is certainly their most polished and tightly written. While they haven’t reinvented metalcore, what they have done is create an incredibly impactful album that stands above the crowd.
The pacing of Eulogies is excellently balanced, providing spaces to breathe between some of the most aggressive tracks the band has ever written. The overall tone of the album is consistent from start to finish. Wolves have always played with a familiar formula of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus, and that can be expected here. But while that particular structure is predictable (most bridges occur 3/4 of the way through the track), the way these guys weave it all together is done on another level.
This is a band that has improved in every way. The guitars are at the most complex they’ve ever been, complete with more guitar solos than their last albums combined (courtesy of Joey Alarcon), paired flawlessly with an exceptional drum performance from Abishai Collingsworth. Vocally, Steve Cobucci and Nick Detty have never sounded more in-tune with one another, and hearing the way they have improved their craft is truly an enjoyable experience.
As the name might suggest, the songs all share some commonality. Serving as a concept album of sorts, Eulogies carries into each song a sense of finality in their content matter. While a eulogy is typically meant to be a final paying of respects, generally with praise for what is being laid to rest, here the concept takes on a new form. The only praise offered is for what Jesus has done on behalf of his creation; the rest of the “eulogies” offered are a not-always-fond farewell to things such as our pasts, callousness, uncertainty and doubt, dissension, condemnation and failure to withstand external pressures.
Holding to their history, Wolves at the Gate fill their lyrics with theology and the hope that can be found in submission to Christ. What makes these goodbyes possible is the death and resurrection of Jesus. The title track explores his death from the perspective of the disciples and how they must have felt in the immediate wake of it: “A bloody tree and empty tomb sends roots below for life to bloom… A violent eulogy claims my victory.“
There are two songs that stand out from the tracklist as ones to replay again and again: “No Tomorrow” and “Embracing Accusation.” The former is a beautiful acknowledgment of the helplessness many feel apart from Jesus. With an arrangement that follows a natural build throughout, the payoff is sure to leave listeners with chills. A surprising cover of a Shane & Shane song, “Embracing Accusation” is a solid interpretation that explores the realization that the devil often speaks in half-truths. “Could the father of lies be telling the truth of God to me tonight?… He’s forgotten the refrain: Jesus saves.” It is a powerful song that really gets to the heart of this album. The things we eulogize are often lies we have believed, and they are only able to be eulogized because Jesus saves.
Eulogies is a beautiful record from a band that fully knows what they are doing— and is really good at doing it. Wolves at the Gate’s commitment to God is commendable and feels truly genuine. While it is clear who and what they are singing about, they write in a way that feels honest and real. There’s no airbrushing of their faith or their doubts. It’s probably been said about their previous albums, but one can’t help but wonder how they can possibly follow this up. But fans can rest assured that Wolves at the Gate is likely to continue upping the ante.
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For fans of: For Today, Memphis May Fire, War of Ages, and Demon Hunter