01. The Dead in Disguise
02. Stone and Glass
03. If There's a Hell We Are All Going Down
05. The Escape
06. Actress, Little Actress
07. One Foot in the Grave
08. Anchor (Chokehold)
2007 Still Life Records
Germany's Ritual, a young hardcore outfit with a full-length already under their belts, has offered up a solid slab of modern hardcore with Wolves. The sub-twenty minute EP draws some nice comparisons to genre-favorites Modern Life is War and the Hope Conspiracy and then tops everything off with a few rock touches in the style of Coliseum and Doomriders. It's short, fast and loud, and while it's everything I've come to expect from a hardcore record, I can't help but feel like this album is just a few years behind the rest of the hardcore scene.
But hey, there's still a bunch of good moments throughout the disc. The opening track, "The Dead in Disguise," does an excellent job of jumping out of the gates and immediately into some gritty rock-inspired riffage, much like that of Suicide Note's earlier material. The bass-driven beginning of "If There's a Hell We Are All Going Down" is strangely reminiscent of Fenix Tx's "Something Bad Is Gonna Happen" before it returns to the Hope Conspiracy-esque style that much of Wolves is built upon. And before it's all over Ritual closes with a nice 90's hardcore throwback with a cover of Chokehold's "Anchor."
On paper I get relatively excited about this EP. It's good to see young guys across the pond drawing heavily on American hardcore influences, but the other side of that coin says that a lot of Wolves may sound just a little too familiar. There's nothing inherently disappointing about this disc, and their list of influences lines up pretty well with what I'd consider to be a lot of my favorite current hardcore acts, but I'm afraid that Wolves' inability to set itself apart from the pack with unique characteristics causes it to land in the good-but-not-great hardcore pile. Nevertheless, if you find yourself intrigued by the aforementioned bands (and it's okay if you don't like Fenix Tx. no one does), Ritual might be right up your alley.
Bottom Line: Wolves is a solid EP from the German band Ritual and draws heavily on modern hardcore acts like Modern Life is War, the Hope Conspiracy and Suicide Note for its rock-tinged approach to hardcore. And while I think it sounds just a little too much like a lot of current American hardcore to be deserving of great praise, it will certainly appeal to many fans of the genre.