For those of you who have been following the metal onslaught of Haste the Day, you would know that Attack of the Wolf King is the band’s 5th studio album on Solid State Records. Since Stephen Keech became lead vocalist in 2006, everything about the old Haste the Day has gradually changed up till 2010, with only one original member remaining.For those wishing for the band from the Jimmy Ryan days, this band is no longer the same band, mainly having to do with a huge line-up changefrom 2008 to 2010, with both guitarists and the drummer leaving. It’s no surprise that these changes really mix up the sound of the band.
The last three records that have featured Keech as the front man have constantly changed and built upon one another. After all of the many changes and experimenting HTD finally hits their stride here. The best elements of the band are represented here (excellent guitar riffs, heavy breakdowns, and shredding screams) and have all been expanded upon.
Stephen Keech’s screams and growls have never sounded better. His range has gotten even better than the last album. His ability to hit deep low growls, up to mid-screams and then high-pitched screams is quite impressive. It really shows how his voice has gone bounds above anything you heard on Pressure the Hinges. I have always liked his screaming, but toput it simply, Keech tears it up on this release. The clean vocals are all pretty superb as well and blend in nicely with the harsher screams.
The songwriting on this album has also gotten better, not that there was much to complain about to begin with. This album talks about the story of the Lion protecting a herd of sheep from a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. This idea should be a good one to relate to for us as Christians today if you take it as a metaphor of Christians living in the world today and then make these songs as anthems to scream along to for all of us. I think this is a great theme and really gives something to connect to with all the great messages that are related through these tracks. Travesty” has some outstanding lyrics and shows some of the best songwriting from the band:
As I am met with travesty/And I am broken and I am empty/And through it all I can see your face/With words unspoken/I hear your voice and/I see the hand The hand that writes it all/You’ve called the wind to show It’s worth/You’ve called the sun to brag about It’s warmth/Because you are the writer/Because you are the soul of the world.
By the first track “Wake Up the Sun ” you can tell how much the guitar playing in this album has improved. It has gotten a lot more technical and there are some outstanding riffs placed throughout numerous tracks thanks to Dave Krysl and Scotty Whelan. The new drummer Giuseppe Capolupo is great and throws in a fresh feel by throwing in odd time signatures and a variety of tempos. “The Quiet Deadly Ticking” and “The Un-Manifest” are two of the albums heavier tunes and show off what HTD does well–some pounding metalcore. “The Place That Most Deny” features Micah Kinard of Oh Sleeper;his voice blends wonderfully with Keech’s on this heavy tune.
“White As Snow” is the one track that is sung with all clean vocals showcasing bassist Mike Murphy. The track is a nice change from the rest of the album as it is very melodic and slows things down with a ballad-like feel. Things pick back up with “Crush Resistance” that is one intense anthem with some of the album’s best screams. This track jumps right into “Walk With A Crooked Spine “which has some great variety and ends with a sweet breakdown. The guys took the elements that have made HTD impressive to begin with and built upon them here. They have crafted some very appealing metal as well as some of the band’s finest work.
I really can’t say enough good things about this album. The musicianship is a step above previous records particularly the guitar work that adds a whole new life to the songs and a dynamic that has not completely been there before. HTD sticks to the format that they excel at–plenty of breakdowns catchy choruses andtons of intensity throughout. If you don’t like metalcore or just have given up on the genre this album probably won’t change your mind but this is one of the best bands in the genre and by defining their sound in this album they show us what metalcore should/can be.
Sadly this is the last album we will hear from HTD since they announced towards the end of 2010 that they would be calling it quits after their final tour in early 2011 that wraps up March 11th in Indianapolis. I’m at least glad to see the band ending on a high note with this album which I would consider one of the best releases of 2010 and a highlight of the band’s career. But I’m really sad to see them go just as they are hitting their peak. This has been one of my favorite metal bands for as long as I’ve liked metal and it’s disappointing to see them go. Hopefully we will see some side projects come out of this but the band did have a good run and has a strong back catalog to show for it. Haste The Day thanks for all the great years of music; you truly will be missed.