Wolvhammer2011’s ‘The Obsidian Plains’ is a helluva album to have to follow, however, considering the superstar line up of the Minneapolis/Chicago trio that is Wolvhammer – Jeff Wilson (ex-Krieg and Nachtmystium), Adam Clemans (ex-Iron Thrones and Veil of Maya) and Heath Rave (ex-Across Tundras) – this is something that certainly shouldn’t be a problem, especially if the material from their recent split with Krieg is anything to go by.

Third full length ‘Clawing into Black Sun’ sees the band exploring territory that’s outside the realm of the blackened sludge label and dipping their toes into the pools of post-rock and punk. This is their most mature work to date, as they’ve managed to pull together a solid collection of songs that are all effectively ominous. The bone shattering howls of vocalists Adam Clemans are the driving force behind opener ‘Silver Key’, complemented by the barely there sounds of the keyboard, that is just about audible in the background.

On the surface, ‘Clawing…’ appears to be a pretty brutal work, however, when pulled apart and given a closer inspection it becomes easier to appreciate the shimmering guitar melodies, the simple, slow and steady metronome-like pace of Heath Rave’s drumming and the emotive use of cleanly-sung choir sections. Opposed to being three quarters of an hour of “wreck your neck” hostility, this record is instead a thoughtful and passionate creation.

One minor quibble would be that the songs can become a little repetitive, making the overall product seem longer than it really is, however, this can easily be overlooked if the album is taken at face value and appreciated for how truly addictive it is.

(8/10 Angela Davey)