Wolf Eyes
Human Animal
(Sub Pop)

By Andrew Lyman

Wof Eyes - Sesc Pompéia

Having laid old noise to rest and ushering in the new, I would like to say that I think Wolf Eyes is an incredibly powerful band. They, more than almost any other modern noise outfit, exemplify the power and aggression of the original wave of industrial bands. Industrial (a term which was coined by Monte Cazazza and Throbbing Gristle), in it’s primal form, was what has now become noise. Industrial turned into something else entirely when it lost its experimental spirit. It is interesting that one of the most true-to-the-old-style noise bands is the one that is largely responsible for its recent spike in popularity.

Comparisons are often drawn between Wolf Eyes and Throbbing Gristle. I can see the connections so I’ll roll with it, but I think these are largely based on the widespread unfamiliarity with the genre. Sonically, Wolf Eyes are much more aggressive than TG. This is absolutely ok in my book, but I still hold steady that TG was one of the most threatening and aggressive bands that ever existed. The English Government once dubbed them “wreckers of civilization,” and they were beaten up repeatedly. That has to count for something. Wolf Eyes, on the other hand, have been picked up by a respectable label, and have toured all over the world to the delight of fans. The times they have a’ changed.

But Wolf Eyes are their own band. Of course they have their roots in TG. Everyone making noise today does, whether they know it or not. Wolf Eyes are compelling because they don’t just vomit out loose collections of random noise. Although traditional structure is by and large nonexistent in their music, they have an excellent understanding of time, pacing, and mood. They are easily one of the most atmospheric bands making any type of music today; and that atmosphere is DARK. It is a dark, harsh, and bleak world they inhabit. This brings me to the other thing Wolf Eyes does so very right. They have that all-important sense of force. Their albums exude that impression that any second everything could go seriously haywire and just fly apart; severing limbs and causing ulcers. They boil with aggression, something that modern music has been pretty hard-up for as of late. Their music is searingly direct; painfully imminent. And, thank god, it’s frightening! I was afraid music had lost its edge. That sense of danger was drying up completely with every new haircut and every new pair of shoes. Wolf Eyes sound dangerous; and danger is something in which music is in desperate need.

Anyone at all familiar with this band will find nothing to complain about with their new album Human Animal, save perhaps a headache. It is everything you have come to love or hate about this band, depending on your preference. Perhaps my tastes have degenerated even further, but I think it’s their most listenable. I have no idea why; it just seems more solid than any of their other releases to date. The deliberate pace and mood seem more developed on this release. They seem to have even more control over those demons they conjure; really orchestrating some violent and bleak soundscapes, rather than just making extreme bloody noise.

Wolf Eyes is a violent and powerful band that, by all accounts, continues to get more and more in control over that power with each release. Play this one loud. Scare kids and grown-up alike.


December 2006 : Wolf Eyes Interview


All opinions expressed by Andrew Lyman are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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