Wolverine - Still
Candlelight
Dark Progressive Rock
9 songs (52'11")
Release year: 2006
Wolverine, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex

Lazarus and Osiris came back from the dead. Phoenix is said to have risen from its ashes. Turns out the Swedish band Wolverine is also capable of resurrecting itself after Cold Light of Monday album, which in my eyes was way below par for this very talented collective. It was not about dark progressive metal with deathy vocals of The Window Purpose being replaced with largely experimental sounds. It was more about the unfinished purposeless nature of Cold Light of Monday setting out with the great story concept and leaving the listener wanting so much more. That listener, of course, was me, so feel free to disagree, but I left Wolverine for dead then.

Change of label, few members’ turnover (the core of Zell brothers and drummer Marcus Losbjer stayed) and now we have Still. Despite what the title might imply, the last thing the band did was remain pat. Not that all of the experimental tendencies were expunged, and not that Still marked a return to prog-death roots, but this latest album feels very well crafted, striking an excellent balance between heavy and dreamy, concentrating on the art of mastering a dark progressive rock song.

Quite a few numbers on Still combine forceful riffs, complex rhythms and melancholic melodies (the opener A House of Plague, This Cold Heart of Mine). In a progressive fashion, guitars and bass can muddy the waters while wondering off, keyboards/organ are prominent, yet the rock songs on Still are well structured, distinctly identifying verses and memorable choruses. What begins as a dreamy floater (And She Slowly Dies) crescendos into a tuneful dominant multilevel melodic chorus. Such approach of song growth is also used on Taste of Sand.

Whether the band agrees or not with the references to Dream Theater and the countrymates Pain of Salvation, but the glide & bounce, caress & rock feeling of Bleeding does invoke comparisons. Liar on the Mount, easily the heaviest song on the album, has driven riffs and lyrics, if I understand them correctly, which invoke some confessions on the part of President Bush. In short, there is enough of rock nature on Still. It is true that Wolverine music is not for the prog elitists only, evidencing Sleepy Town set to a pop Depeche Mode percussion pattern with claps. Woven in Latin guitar and the distorted guitar hero solo do not detract from this song targeting an accessible radio hit for the masses.

All of the direct rocking, Still would have been incomplete without its deeper emotional introverted moments. Green Carnation like voice plus electronics (mellotron), Nothing More slowly but passionately develops into an acoustic instrumental. A little less personal, more relaxing Hiding introduces all kinds of interesting percussion, i.e. maracas, timpani, in addition to triangle appearing on Nothing More. It is these “left field” songs where it is obvious how Stefan Zell’s voice has matured. Don’t know if there were any singing lessons along the way, but Stefan sounds both charming and deep these days.

The transformation almost complete Wolverine is definitely a different band from the one that captivated me five years ago, but Still is a confident entry in the world of dark progressive rock.

Killing Songs :
A House of Plague, Nothng More, This Cold Heart of Mine, And She Slowly Dies
Alex quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Wolverine that we have reviewed:
Wolverine - Communication Lost reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Wolverine - Cold Light of Monday reviewed by Alex and quoted 58 / 100
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