Debut full-lengths can be very exciting – especially when the only previous collection of tracks came from a debut EP (aside from the Demos). In 2011, Christian Hardcore-eans Wolves At The Gate released their powerful introduction to the music scene. The We Are The Ones EP was both meaningful and uplifting, spiritual and heavy without skipping a beat. While the six songs definitely sang praises and hymns with regard to the potential that the band held in its grip, they played their cards right and took the necessary “Next Steps” to gaining strength in the world they sought acceptance in.
A year of touring and writing can work in one of two ways, generally speaking. Either the band ends up wanting to rip each other’s heads off in the end, or the result is a union-ship: growth, maturity, respect, increased talent, and in this case, increased faith. The latter was the outcome for these fellows from Ohio, resulting in Captors and lofty expectations.
Going back to my previous comments regarding debut full-lengths, in relation to their counterpart – in this case the debut EP – oftentimes the initial reaction is only partial satisfaction. The same holds true upon the first listen of Captors. After the second and third listen through, the band’s growth and levels of melodic power become gradually evident. Perhaps increased age has lowered my listening triggers a bit? Needless to say, guitarist/clean vocalist Steve Cobucci absolutely penetrates from track one through eleven. His power is perfectly stunning. The best thing is that the balance between him and screamer Nick Detty is masterfully orchestrated. It seems like a simple enough equation, but 95% of the time, bands just cannot seem to get that balance right. So far, Wolves At The Gate are spot-on.
The opener “The Harvest” is an immediate favorite, as it displays both the hardcore nature of similar acts Underoath and Oh, Sleeper as well as the melodic hard rock sides of those same bands. From the onset, it sounds less like what one would expect from a band such as this (breakdown: intro, no). It is more of an assault, until relief comes in the form of the aforementioned vocal powerhouse, Steve Cobucci. When I say relief, I simply refer to the heaviness – not that the relief was necessary. Netty and the other members crush through your speakers for that first minute or so. Noteworthy: “The Harvest” is the most similar to what was shown on We Are The Ones, especially its final track “Oh The Depths.”
Unfortunately This Love’s Joe McFaddin does not make an appearance. Luckily for Wolves, that is really the only thing that this record lacks. There is not a true ballad, although that could be argued since most of the tracks resemble a ballad in some ways. I firmly feel that a true ballad, relying solely on Cobucci, would have sent Captors soaring. However there is not a single bad track on the album, every song scoring a par at the very least. Personally, that in itself is always a stellar accomplishment.
For Those Who Like: Bury Tomorrow’s Portraits – Akissforjersey’s Victims – Oh, Sleeper’s Children of Fire