Finnish death-metallers Wolfheart certainly blew any bank holiday cobwebs out of my ears with this absolutely over the top 4-track Skull Soldiers EP, released on Napalm Records. It consists of 2 brand new singles ‘Skull Soldiers’ and ‘Hereditary’ as well as an acoustic version of the Shadow World album track ‘Aeon Of Cold’ with bass guitarist Lauri Silvonen delivering a clean vocal and a live version of the Wolves Of Karelia single, ‘Reaper’.
This mesmerising release opens with ‘Skull Soldiers’ as an ominous call to arms intro is blown away by black-hearted riffs that writhe and churn with torturous resonance. Guttural vocals from Tuomas Saukkonen are dragged up and out from the very depths of Hell and touches of majesty come sweeping in courtesy of orchestral strings. The drums of Joonas Kauppinen pound metronomically until everything muscles in as snare drums speed up to wrist snapping power and an ear-splitting guitar solo rages in for a tumultuous ending.
‘Hereditary’ goes for the throat straight away with an unrelenting blast of vitriolic death metal as a feral first minute is dominated by furious kick drums and brain mangling riffs destroying everything in its path. Lead vocals kick in with manic intent backed again by those earworm orchestral strings. The sheer power of this song is breathtaking, even more so when the blast-beated midsection is a shockwave of hate as a moment of calm heralds an apocalyptic outro.
The acoustic ‘Aeon Of Cold’ has enough menace to make you shiver even though the song is stripped down to its bleached bare bones by an almost whispered vocal to add extra fear to an already creepy dirge.
They finish us with what’s left of our sanity with a live version of ‘Reaper’. It’s a fast and furious take with the spotlight stolen by inhuman drumming as Joonas seems to cover every inch of his kit with manic kick drums and warp speed snare work. Riffs are dense enough to create a shroud of oxygen stealing doom as it ends on a gruelling grind and orchestral strings.