Wolfheart – “Skull Soldiers” EP (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
The battle continues! If you couldn’t get enough of last year’s “Wolves Of Karelia”, then this 4 track EP of 2 new songs and 2 special rarities will only have you slavering like the special warfare unit on which this is based, complete with skull motifs painted onto their helmets! Musically embodying their brutal winters as well as their army’s ‘never surrender’ ethos, this Finnish melodic death outfit have risen to prominence over the years, and this EP continues that march in spectacular fashion. Opening to the machine gun assault of title track ‘Skull Soldiers’, the brutal riffs rip and chug along to the roars of founder vocalist guitarist Tuomas Saukkonen, while stylishly laced by gothic keyboard melodies and operatic choirs adding a definite deathly chill to the already ugly but strangely catchy maelstrom, before wiping you out through some brilliant neo classical soloing! Blast beating in on ‘Hereditary’, the keyboard melodies rise to the fore over the savage double bass bombardment, while the chainsaw riffs continue through an ambient backdrop overflowing with orchestrals and wailing guitars that together bring this brutal and beautiful song to climax. Showing their acoustic measure on ‘Aeon Of Cold’, an unmistakable air of melancholia pervades through its gentle atmosphere as bassist Lauri Silvonen adds his ethereal vocal touch in bringing this quiet but moving piece to closure. Ending with a live version of ‘Reaper’ (from “Wolves Of Karelia”), the double bass drums kick ‘n’ roll as the riffs saw to the Saukkonen’s distant roars like a lycan in the wind while the main Scandi melody is simply irresistible in its epic and gothic glory, making for a fitting culmination to this superb EP that continues Wolfheart’s ascendancy unabated!