Monday 29 January 2018

Blackwülf - Sinister Sides (Album Review)

Release date: 23rd February 2018. Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Sinister Sides – Tracklisting

1. Gate of Sorrow
2. Sinister Sides
3. Waiting on Tomorrow
4. Dead to the World
5. Blind to Fate
6. The Tempest
7. Sunshine of Your Love (Cream cover)
8. Battle Line


Alex Cunningham
Pete Holmes
Scott Peterson
Dave Pankenier


Greetings All,

This February, Oakland, California’s Blackwülf will be dropping their 3rd full length Sinister Sides via the great Ripple Music. Sinister Sides brings the classic styled fuzzed out stoner rock we all know and love, with a nice smattering of gloom and doom for all to dig on. In listening to Blackwülf I was reminded of tons of great bands across a couple of different genres.

There is a definite influence of the fuzzed out rock of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. A definite classic rock vibe, with a definite nod to Sabbath. Some Pentagram-like inspired doom, and even a touch of Mudhoney brand garage/grunge.

The 4 guys in Blackwülf are excellent musicians and the album is tight and inspired. The vocals are a real stand out. The stoner vibe of John Garcia are heavy with these fellas. Each of the eight tracks on Sinister Sides is stellar. Each song stands out on its own, but the songs also form a cohesive, immensely listenable record.

The album opens with feedback and distorted bass tones of Gate of Sorrow. It is a rocking song with a slower doom inspired tempo that gives way to heavy guitars and quicker tempo at the end. The title track, Sinister Sides follows. It picks up the pace significantly from the opener right of the bat. Heavy, fuzzed out guitars and a driving beat push the darker subject matter of this ripper. Waiting on Tomorrow is a power ballad in the absolute best sense of the words.

It is a slower, acoustic driven track that showcases the killer vocals on the record. Dead to the World is another ripper that unleashes critical, politically driven subject matter. A bit of new millennium War Pigs. Blind to Fate follows next. Musically, this may be the most Sabbath style track on the album. It is Doomy, with a heavy wah style that is reminiscent of the groove oriented style of Sabbath. I am not an authority on Shakespeare, but I believe The Tempest may just be inspired by the bard himself. The dark, water based imagery of the song swallows the listener. The song’s heavy, plodding into gives away to another killer, fuzzed out jam.

Sunshine of Your Love is a straight forward cover of the Cream classic. The band plays it perfectly. It is an admirable salute to the band and the genre. The album closes with Battle Line. This is a killer track that closes the album perfectly. The song rocks hard throughout closing with some wicked guitars and heavy percussion.

Although this is their third album, I am new to Blackwülf. But I am damn glad to have found them. Sinister Sides is a tremendous album. If you dig Stoner, Doom, Garage, or even Classic Rock there is something for you to love on this ripper. Do yourself a big favor and track them down, grab all their records, like I will and Dig on Blackwülf!

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

Thanks to Carl at Action PR and Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Sinister Sides will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music from February 23rd 2018.