If you’ve ever had to play a game where someone told you a noun (person, place, or thing) and then you had to say the first word that came to your mind in response to that thing, my instant response to listening to this album would be “straightforward.” Powerwolves are a generally new hardcore outfit from the realms of Methuen, Massachusetts. This debut record, entitled You Won’t Find Peace, is on Panic Records, a label known for punk and hardcore powerhouses like Man Overboard, Make Do And Mend, and Set Your Goals. Because of this, you know what you’re in for: straight-up brutal tunes.
From the start of opener “Behind This Face,” a double-kick count-off sends the song right into aggression. Right away, you will know exactly how the whole album will sound. This is both a good and a bad thing, because although you know what you are in for, it takes the mystery out of the experience. Nevertheless, from there you will get pounded with ferocious yell after yell, breakdowns, and pit-inducing fretwork. What I really dig about these guys is the experience attached. When you’re in the mood for getting hardcore, their music makes it really easy to do that, especially with lyrics like “this world is fucked/but don’t let it fuck you up.”
Now, most of the songs are short. I mean, really short. Not one song on this record is three minutes long, so if you’re wanting some longer drawn out melodies you will be disappointed. Nearly all the songs follow the same format too: beginning with a melody or guitar-led intro of some kind, and then wasting no time cutting to the chase. Sadly, it starts to blend together about halfway though, but it will grow on you a little bit. It isn’t just the typical chug-chug-chug format either, which is really refreshing. It’s very melodic, which is something I can appreciate. At times I feel like they are channeling their inner Every Time I Die. The melodies stand out strongly on songs like “The Chaos You Made,” “Heavy Lies The Crown,” and “My Eyes are Open.” Those songs are easily the strongest on the album, while others (“Yesterdays,” “They Keep Us”) are just a giant melting pot of lost chunky riffs and throaty yells.
One particular beef I have with the record is the inclusion of one of the strangest interludes I’ve ever heard, “Welcome the End.” It’s basically two minutes of picked strings that repeat over and over, some drums, and near the end you can hear some faint yelling. I personally feel interludes need to make sense if they are included, and this one just doesn’t have anything about it that validates the premise of what an interlude is. Also, not one instrument really stands out as the strongest, but for a band like this it works because not one person is particularly bad at what they are doing. If I had to choose, the guitarists are definitely what make them solid.
In the giant sea of hardcore bands trying to perfect a recycled sound over and over again, this album just doesn’t have the chops to stand out. But what I do believe, based off the melodies that fill the better half of the album, is that they have potential. Bring those melodies to the forefront, try a little more variation, and next time around they could have something that could cause more than just a stir in the hardcore world.