WOLVES AT THE GATE: “Eulogies” (Review)

Wolves at the Gate, the metal band that originated in the small town of Cedarville, Ohio, is releasing their fifth full-length album, “Eulogies” on March 11th through Solid State Records. Although the band went through multiple member changes in their early years, the lineup has remained fairly consistent for a while now.  (Steve Cobucci- rhythm guitar/clean vocals, Ben Summers- bass/backing vocals, Nick Detty- unclean vocals/piano, Abishai Collingsworth- drums, Joey Alarcon- lead guitar). The drums were recorded in a professional studio by Taylor Larson (Asking Alexandria, Periphery, Veil of Maya), however, most of the album was recorded right in Cobucci’s personal basement studio.

It’s been nearly three years since Wolves at the Gate released their last album, “Eclipse,” and listeners have been waiting and hoping the music written during the pandemic would live up to their expectations.  The opening track, “Shadows,” starts off heavy and quickly satisfies. In the first few moments, the listener is hit with a volley of catchy guitar riffs and pounding drums. The vocal delivery thrashed between Detty and Cobucci is perfect. The next song, “Peace That Starts The War,” features taunting verses and an extremely catchy chorus. The song was released as a single on February 11 and was watched tens of thousands of times in its first week.

The first single, “Lights & Fire,” was released on January 21st and was well received by fans.  The official music video is fairly simple- it features the band playing their single in front of a screen of fiery light, yet mixed with the song’s uplifting lyrics, the video is powerful in its own right.  It has nearly 90,000 views on YouTube in less than three weeks!  The title track, “Eulogies,” features excellent riffs and the lyrics were written from the perspective of Jesus’ disciples. “Such a violent eulogy is tearing my heart out. With this doubt and mystery, I’m falling apart now.”  These words are a reflection of what Jesus’ followers might have felt after their Lord was crucified.

I was curious about some of the other lyrical themes and was able to ask songwriter Stephen Cobucci about some of the songs in a recent interview.  According to him, “Weight of Glory,” attempts to show us what is valuable in the midst of suffering. This heavy song is a battle cry to rise above the pain and cling to hope. “No Tomorrow” is written from the perspective of a person who is feeling lonely after realizing the weight of their sin and wonders if there is any hope.”  “Embracing Accusation,” I surprisingly found out, is a cover song originally written by the Christian worship group “Shane and Shane.”  The song is about a person hearing the devil preaching a sermon, and realizing that the devil is telling the truth! It’s not until the end of the song that the person remembers they had only heard the message in part.

As is with many album releases, the singles are great, but some of the deep tracks are the ones that show off the incredible talent of the band. The ninth track, “Stop the Bleeding,” features a catchy chorus and excellent drumming by Collingsworth, “Kiss The Wave” is a face-paced earworm, and “Silent Anthem,” the album’s closing song, takes the listener on an anthemic aural journey. Although every listener may not agree with Cobucci’s religion or worldview, I doubt anyone who truly listened to this album would lack respect for the band.  The music is excellent, and the lyrics are vulnerable and honest- two qualities I admire in any songwriter, regardless of their beliefs.  

A eulogy is a speech that praises someone highly and is almost always given after their death.  However, there are occasions when a eulogy must be given for those who are still alive and thriving, so here is my final praise: Wolves at the Gate has proved it can not only survive and adapt to the constant changes in the music business these last fifteen years, but they can do it at the highest level of excellence.  “Eulogies” is passionate and honest and will be hard to top as my favorite album of 2022.