December Wolves - _Til Ten Years_
(Hammerheart Prod., 1996)
by: Drew Snow (
Okay, when most of us think of a bastion of fast melodic black metal, Massachusetts isn't exactly the first place that pops into our minds. It's not exactly the cold, desolate frostland which usually spawns such acts. However, once you take a listen to _Til Ten Years_, the location of the band will be the furthest thing from your mind (except for maybe wondering how something this good emerged from the same place as "Cheers"). December Wolves play a style of melodic black metal with keyboards and occasional female vocals, along with a couple of acoustic flourishes here and there, which makes for not only very consistent but also extremely interesting listening. You won't get bored while enjoying this disc. The vein in which they play is reminiscent of the Norwegian style in its speed and majesty, but there's some intangible element that identifies them as American, on which I can't quite put my finger. The vocals are typically black metal, and the drums aren't anything extraordinary (though still proficient), but it's the guitar work that stands out most here. Sometimes backed by a simple keyboard melody, the guitars are definitely the dominating instrument in the mix and create some awesome melodies, the best ones usually coming during the mid-paced sections of the songs. December Wolves might not be able to stand next to the best Scandinavian acts, but as far as American BM is concerned, they are without equal.
(article published 1/2/1997)
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