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Where did three years go? Ire Wolves out of Duluth has been rocking the Twin Ports with their sludgy post-metal since 2011 and released their first album “The Ascetic” in 2014. The band was originally named Soma and changed to Ire Wolves in 2013. Members Michael Trepanier, Dustin Fennessey, and Tim Simmons all have paid their rock dues and this new album titled “Heirs” sticks to their formula of melodic yet heavy approach towards experimental rock.
Once again, they have called upon the studio wizardry of engineer/producers Ryan Rusch at the Weight Room in Washburn, Wisc. and Dave Hill. The mix of something this raw matched with a clearly thought out intensity drives this album along from start to finish. When it gets hard, it doesn’t hold back, when it gets beautiful, the riffs shimmer through like a beam of sunlight through some clouds.
Those who like metal music should easily be able to get into this album, but there’s enough to hold many listener’s interest if they can get past the guttural yells and shouts of Trepanier. Fennessey’s vocals add a little softer touch here and there but are still pretty hardcore. I’ve definitely had conversations about lyrics delivered so heavy that they’re hard to understand. I’m always torn on this because is it worth sacrificing impact and the dramatic level of screamed lyrics just so the listener can understand what’s being sung better? Or is watering down the true overall intention of the music? Luckily if you go to the group’s bandcamp site, not only can you download this album for free (or be cool and kick them some money), but they have lyrics to the songs. I think if a vocalist gets this heavy with their vocals, the least they can do is have the lyrics printed somewhere. It’s kind of cool when reading the lyrics along with such intense music how the meanings come alive.
A lot of this album is tied to the earth and the frustrations and anger of its desecration. In the track “Blood is Not Enough,” Trepanier sings, “We honor the earth/We honor the breath of our mother/With blood of the young and lives of unborn. These visions remain/Horizons of nothing to gather/So swallow the salt from deserts we’ve made.” The album isn’t exactly happy and carries a lot of humanistic and political messages that range from being in your face to more hidden at times. These themes are fitting for what the band is trying to achieve.
The effort and sound from a three piece is pretty stunning on this album. There aren’t a ton of metal bands in the Twin Ports and it’s great that these guys are keeping at it with not only powerful performances, but well put together albums. There’s really nothing to lose by checking these guys out if you haven’t already, unless if you can’t stand experimental metal music.