Crust Punk doesn’t have a lot of moving parts. It’s fully charged and ready to go, but almost confined by its straightforwardness and simplicity. To separate yourself from the pack in this genre, you’ve got to have the right sound, the right chemistry, the right energy in the studio and on stage, and no lack of passion. That’s why you only need a couple hands… maybe one foot… to count the really good Crust bands. Sweden’s Wolfbrigade are near the top of that short list. Formerly known as Wolfpack, classics like A New Dawn Fades, Lycanthro Punk, and Allday Hell are standard-bearers in this league. Sadly, it seemed as though after they changed their name and released the solid Progression/Regression, they fell off the face of the Earth. While their last two records sounded a bit phoned in, there seems to be a healthy buzz surrounding Damned, their Southern Lord debut. And justifiably so, as it’s immediately clear from the moment you press play that Wolfbrigade is back in full force and possibly better than ever. Not so much a return to form as it is a return to focus, Damned sizzles with urgency and tension. What’s always made them stand out for me is their inclination towards misery and despair, and there’s no shortage of that here. With a thick coating of bleak hopelessness, these guys get more mileage out of the D-beat than most. There’s something magical about sadness at full speed. When Motorhead and Negativity are worshipped simultaneously, everybody wins. Every song rages with primal ferocity, every song is complimented by grim melodic genius, every song is a winner. Unafraid to switch up the tempo throughout, even when the band really slow it down on “Ride the Steel,” they’re unstoppable. Quite frankly, this is the band’s most accomplished, most diverse, most dynamic, and (likely no coincidence) most Metallic work to date. Flawless!
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Damn straight. This is easily the best thing they’ve done since the WolfPack days, blows “D-Beat Odyssey” and “Prey to the World” out of the water. If the new Skitsystem and Tragedy are even close to this, it’ll be a good year for crust
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