about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_wolverine_communicationlost001006.jpg
So here we have Wolverine's fourth studio album, released after a five year gap since its predecessor 'Still', and what an emotionally tumultuous journey it's been for the Swedes to arrive at the finished product. Following a period of conflict within the band and changes in members' personal lives, Wolverine, self-admittedly, were on the verge of splitting towards the end of 2008. Very fortunately, within-band friction was resolved, personal circumstances and perceptions changed, and the world has not been denied another slice of Wolverine's sublime musical majesty that has taken the form of 'Communication Lost', a most apposite title that alludes to their collective psyche during 2007/2008. So one could say the album is something akin to a musical autobiography with lyrical themes derived from the Swedes' epoch of unrest. And that is undoubtedly an overriding strength of the material that's resulted from such ambivalent roots - you can genuinely feel the melancholy, despair, perplexity, hope and, ultimately, optimism, inherent in the songs. Music as emotionally sincere as that found on 'Communication Lost' is all too rare. This is perhaps Wolverine's biggest and most important accomplishment with the album. I have to say, though, that I've been listening to 'Communication Lost' for a little over two months prior to writing this review and, during this period, its sonic rewards have flourished to the point where I can appreciate and admire the songs' subtly emotional complexities on a more profound level than when I first encountered them. I actually regarded the music as great from the very first listen but, over time, have found myself connecting deeper with the affectively penetrating essence that lies at the core of each composition. So this is, indubitably, an album in which you would have to invest some time to truly appreciate its merits.

Stylistically, songs are similar to those found on 'Still' although the emphasis has generally shifted from the heavy to the mellow with bursts of distorted guitar used sporadically, and purposefully, throughout. The overall vibe is that Wolverine have refined their art to create an album as good as they could have done at this point in their lives. I never had the opportunity to review 'Still' but, just for the record, I would have put that at nine and a half out of ten so I'm left with no opportunity but to rate 'Communication Lost' with full marks (and regular readers of Metal Discovery will be aware how reserved I am in scoring any album ten). Seriously folks, it's that good. I'll refrain from discussing individual tracks as there are no highlights to speak of, rather the whole album is a highlight and should be digested in its entirety to attain the full clout of its emotionally complex intentions. Performance-wise, everyone is spot on - Stefan Zell delivers career-best vocals where the emotional depth in his voice is astounding; a genuine sensibility for the words he sings. Guitarist Mikael Zell demonstrates wide ranging fretboard skills and his occasional lead breaks are as heartfelt as they've ever been. Per Henriksson's keys are also pleasingly diverse in their use with aptly deployed sounds that help to convey the songs' themes. Thomas Jansson's bass playing adds another layer of emotion in its astute execution while drummer Marcus Losbjer's percussive talents range from the refrained to full-on rock and everything in-between, again accentuating songs' lyrical purposes. That's not to mention a handful of guest musicians including the incredible cello work of Stefan Moberg on 'Downfall', 'Poison Ivy' and 'What Remains'. Collectively, all combine to create purely captivating, emotionally-charged instrumentation that is easy to get lost in through the listening experience. While Wolverine produced the album themselves, of which a mightily fine job has been done I might add, famed Danish metal producer Jacob Hansen assumed responsibility for mixing the whole thing. The overall sound is amazing with every element clearly audible.

A word too about the instrumental pieces that neatly book-end the album (instrumental, that is, save for a provocative narrated poem in each, penned by Thomas). While I gather they have a broader meaning, their titles are kind of rhetorical in the context of the emotionally complex journey from which the album was born. Thus 'Downfall' will take you into a musical descent and to the thematic rock bottom of the band's lowest experiences, but the nine compositions that follow also have a discernible catharsis so the climax, and ambient outro, is loaded with hope and optimism in 'A Beginning'. With an album as awesome as 'Communication Lost', thank fuck Wolverine opted to carry on making music and long may they continue to do so. For now, though, let's all revel in the grandeur of their latest and I genuinely hope this album finds the wide audience of which it's so utterly deserving. Few musical works stir the emotions as much as 'Communication Lost'.
Candlelight Records
Review by Mark Holmes
23rd May 2011
1) Downfall
2) Into the Great Nothing
3) Poison Ivy
4) Your Favourite War
5) Embrace
6) Pulse
7) What Remains
8) In Memory of Me
9) In the Quiet of Dawn
10) Communication Lost
11) A Beginning
"Music as emotionally sincere as that found on 'Communication Lost' is all too rare. This is perhaps Wolverine's biggest and most important accomplishment with the album."