Bad Wolves - 'N.A.T.I.O.N.'

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Bad Wolves - 'N.A.T.I.O.N.'

It's the tracks that balance the heaviness with the hooks that win through.

Only those living in a cave during 2018 could have failed to hear Bad Wolves' version of 'Zombie'. Their cover of The Cranberries' track was a huge hit for a band who had been making steady progress under the guidance of their manager – Five Finger Death Punch's Zoltan Bathory.

The song was to feature Dolores Riordan, but she sadly died prior to recording. If anything, her death pushed the track from simply a "hit" to a "mega-hit". As a result, sales of their debut release 'Disobey' enjoyed a knock-on success. It was a decent enough album, and yet it lacked consistency and seemed a little confused as to where it stood in the Rock genre. It was a strange mix of the commerciality of Breaking Benjamin with the clout of Five Finger Death Punch.

This sophomore release addresses the aforementioned issues by taking things up to a new level of clarity and song-writing. Tommy Vext's growls are present and correct on the malevolent 'I'll Be There', 'Foe Or Friend' and the Killswitch Engage-influenced 'No Messiah'. However, there's a level of finesse evident (like being punched by a velvet glove), and this is even more noticeable on the more mainstream, Active Rock tracks such as 'Killing Me Slowly' and 'Learn To Walk Again'. Absent on 'Disobey', these contrasts work seamlessly on their latest effort.

'Better Off This Way' is a killer power ballad with Vext showing his undoubted versatility. 'Sober', a reflective ballad, has "hit" written all over it and comes straight out of the Hinder/Brian Howes school of song-writing, while the aggressive 'The Consumerist' reminds us that the group still like hitting hard. However, it's the tracks that balance the heaviness with the hooks that win through; 'Heaven So Heartless' and 'Crying Game' are two more examples of the new, mature Bad Wolves. It's that attribute that will be significant in carrying the band forward.

Mike Newdeck

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