Review by Shannon Shumaker
Wolves At The Gate’s new EP, Reprise is jaw droppingly beautiful, to say the least. Known for their stellar post-hardcore work, Wolves At The Gate have definitely proven with this release that they are multi dimensional. These songs, all of which but one are reworked versions of Wolves At The Gates’ powerful older work, are flawless and seem to take on a whole new mood and meaning with the stripped down quality of the songs. The best part is, these aren’t simple acoustic renditions of the songs, either. The full band has been worked into each track, and the product is remarkable and well written.
The first track, “Dead Man,” which features a beautifully seamless guest vocal part from Michael McGough of Being As An Ocean is the perfect opening song to really show listeners what this EP is all about. The progression of the song is amazing, the guest vocals fit perfectly, and the retention itself is flawless. But then, “Relief” comes in after “Dead Man” and somehow manages to take things to yet another level. The stripped down rendition of this normally hard-hitting and high energy track is absolutely incredible, and it doesn’t feel too mellow or acoustic by any means. The piano and drum parts really fill out the song, but it’s the vocal harmonies between Wolves At The Gate's vocalist Steve Cobucci and guest vocalist Toby Morrell of Emery that really make this song. Their harmonies are jaw-droppingly beautiful, as if these two vocalists were meant to sing together.
These strong vocal harmonies only continue in the following track, “The Bird and the Snake,” featuring guest vocals from Ryan Leitru of For Today. “The Bird and the Snake” is notably strong because of the emotion in the vocal work. While it’s easy to take away the meaning of the original versions of these songs, the message definitely seems to ring clear in the acoustic renderings, especially with “The Bird and the Snake.” Pretty is the best way to describe “East to West,” featuring some beautiful guest vocals from Aaron Troyer of Come Wind. “East to West” is the brightest sounding song on the album, especially compared to “The Father’s Bargain,” which comes before it.
Ending Reprise on a strong note is the final song, and the only new track on the EP, “Waste,” which leaves me both excited and curious about what is next for a band as versatile as Wolves At The Gate. Reprise is the product of a group of musicians who know exactly what they’re doing, and they do it well. Just when you thought Wolves At The Gate couldn’t get any better, the manage to absolutely knock this release out of the park. These songs aren’t simply rehashed acoustic versions of old songs by any means - they are full band, beautiful reimaginings that take the songs to an entirely new level and leave you wanting more.
Listen to "Relief"