Wolves Like Us LIVE @ Camden Barfly 08.02.2014

Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Wolves Like Us’ takes cues from post-hardcore acts like Fugazi, Alt-Rock acts like Afghan Whigs, The slow sludgy sound of The Melvins, and heavy metal to deliver their own brand of dark and bitterly cold hard rock .The band was formed in 2010 but are seasoned veterans, containing members from familiar names to the Norwegian heavy rock/hardcore scene such as Amulet, Infidels Forever, JR Ewing, and Silver. Currently Wolves Like Us are touring in support of label mates Junius and German Post-Metal act Long Distance Calling, making a stop at Camden’s Barfly last Saturday.

It’s surprisingly packed for the earliest set. The room grows hot and humid as more patrons try and squeeze their way in forward as others trying to make their way in the opposite direction in hopes of grabbing another pint before the band start. The Oslo based foursome make their way onstage, the room almost completely dark as they take to their instruments with the venue’s iconic green neon sign glowing in the background.

The Muscular overdriven guitar grinds out snarling chords over the heavy handed technical work on the drums. Bassist Toy Kjeldaas moves with great energy as he churns out thundering bass lines. Vocalist/guitarist Larsh Kristensen roaring vocals are delivered with passion and suggest an emotional core under the Wolves like Us’ savage Nordic brutality. Songs like “Deathless” are gripping assaults of volume and distortion. The layered guitar work creates brilliant dynamic contrast; while one is hammering out dark chords, the other is playing intense technical riffs leading into exhilarating moments where everything comes crashing down. The slow grind of “Sin After Sin” shows the band at their best, as the verses move with like a freight train slowly building up momentum into the choruses till it all gets torn down in the chaotic breakdown.

The sound system at Barfly is nothing short of spectacular. With Heavyier bands in smaller venues there’s always the risk of the sound being too muddy, but at Barfly every single note, beat, and word is crystal clear.  The room gets cramped quickly and after about 45 minutes in there your dying to get some fresh air, but there is an undeniable intimacy about the venue. You may at times be uncomfortably close to the person standing next to you but you forget that because you can’t help being completely engulfed in the wall of sound.

Wolves Like Us are a fine example of the wave of heavy rock/metal acts coming out the Nordic Countries in the past few years, a wave which includes acts like: critically acclaimed heavy metal band Kvelertak, Stavanger natives Jagged Vision and Overthrow, plus Swedish psychedelic rockers Graveyard among others. What really sets Wolves Like Us apart is the fact that they play with swagger and passion, while watching them whip themselves around the stage you get the sense that they aren’t just playing their songs, they’re feeling them. You get the sense you are witnessing something real and honest.

Trygve Hjelle