Would you believe it, the lad from the Aesop’s fable is all grown up and has created a metal band. Actually it’s just Oxford based quintet I Cried Wolf, who will be dropping their new, quirky EP Hollow Heart in September. Filled to the rafters with killer guitars and heavy grooves, this underground band are ridiculously talented but also a little erratic in places. It’s as if they wanted to cram in an album’s worth of music into five tracks and sometimes it feels a little overwhelming.
Scratching My Head With Ink displays this immediately, when the hardcore guitar solo is competing with Harry Davies’ screaming vocals for attention. He shows excellent range in both singing and screaming skills, but it is not necessary on top of the already heavy guitar and bass. It’s like they’re trying to do a jigsaw puzzle by smashing the pieces together with a hammer, when in reality it will only fit properly if all the pieces are carefully placed in the right order. When Davies sings however, it is sublime.
Massokiss Me follows with a similar theme with mismatched vocal style and guitar, but it thankfully calms at the chorus. A satisfyingly heavy bass teases you just after and the song becomes more ordered as it progresses, particularly when the head banging guitar riff comes into play. Once it settles down, it is a rather accomplished piece with a great arrangement of vocals and screaming skills. This is a real anthem and you can picture yourself growling the lyrics back to I Cried Wolf in a cramped, sweaty nightclub somewhere in London.
It’s easy to see why they chose to develop It Takes a Slave into a music video with it’s addictive lyrics fashioning a story in your mind. However when it slows into a melodic bridge, it seems a little mismatched by Davies’ screaming. If there was ever a perfect time to showcase singing talent, that was it. This is only a blip in the radar as the rest of the song has darker, deeper vocals running underneath which sounds wonderful. Until the indistinguishable mass of noise greets you at the end, which spoils the ambience of the song.
Kenopsia is a difficult track to pin down, on the one hand the guitar skills are quite wonderful but once again the erratic vocals let it down. There is always a time for screaming but to use the age old phrase, sometimes less is more. I Cried Wolf should perhaps adopt this technique to complement their fast paced guitars.
The EP closes with Sharkfeet, where Louie Hodgson and Alex Gibbons have to be commended for their effortless guitar skills, as with the rest of this EP. They are flawless at creating heavy riffs, in fact the band as a whole show great talent in creating awesome metal music. The dark and relatable lyrics are also something to smile about, as they capture the essence of how the ordinary human being feels and struggles.
In all honesty, Hollow Heart lives up to its name. The aspects that leave you feeling elated are chipped away when you can’t appreciate the guitar or the vocals to all their potential glory as they don’t gel particularly well. Instead of trying to fight each other for attention, the music and singing should be in harmony to create something beautiful. That being said, this EP shows promise and I Cried Wolf have all the tools to their disposal, now is the time to use them.
Hollow Heart will be available on 11th September through Crooked Noise Records.