Among Wolves – Ephemeral Review

Band: Among Wolves
Album: Ephemeral
Label: Independent
Genre: Proggy Melodeath
Country: US
Release Date: 
For Fans Of:
 Children Of Bodom, Dream Theater, Ephemerald

Among Wolves are a young band from Utah that I’m aware of because their bassist writes reviews and makes art for this website. Ephemeral is the band’s debut EP. Their style draws heavily from Children Of Bodom, with some prog mashed in. Younger bands often run into the issue of inconsistency: While the bands have good ideas and convey them well, doing so for the full runtime of the release can prove difficult. With Ephemeral being an EP, Among Wolves show that they aren’t trying to do everything at once, and hopefully will be able to raise the floor of their record above that of their peers.

From the start, the riffs on Ephemeral are highly reminiscent of late Portnoy-era Dream Theater. The band often repeats a single note for a short amount of time while varying up the rhythms from the choruses or melodies surrounding the repeated chugging. This results in a song structure that maintains interest while letting the listener anticipate part of what’s coming. While I associate this style with later Dream Theater, they’re not the only ones to do it. This isn’t flashy; there is no Meshuggah-style obliteration of the concept of rhythm here. It’s still effective and provides a good base for the band members to work off of.

The solos, meanwhile, are flashy as hell. The guitarist isn’t afraid to let a high note wail, giving some of the solos a more arrogant tone than is sometimes found in metal. Because these solos aren’t just all shredding all the time, the shredding that does happen stands out as impressive and meaningful.

The vocals unfortunately also borrow a little too much from Dream Theater. The growling vocals are entirely fine. In fact, the growling vocalist’s enunciation is some of the best that I’ve heard in a while, allowing me to actually understand the points being conveyed. Among Wolves’ growling tones won’t be harsh enough for fans of exclusively brutal death metal, but for the rest of us these harshes sound effective. Unfortunately clean vocals are present in every song, and these just don’t function how they should. Often the singer’s tone makes me think he’s about to go flat to the point that it distracts from the music. This isn’t City Of Evil-levels of being an issue, but the clean vocals do detract from every song.

The drums blend into the background too much on Ephemeral to really blow me away, but once I begin actively listening for them some subtly impressive sounds come to the front. As with the guitars and growling vocals, the band seems to place their focus on making the music serviceable above making it impressive. The result is some patterns that sound basic, but are exactly what is needed in the moment, and some fills that would have been ruined if the drummer had tried to do more. The drums won’t make an initial impression, but raise the stock of the release upon repeat listens.

Among Wolves’s songwriting mostly allows them to convey ideas cleanly and effectively, but there are some choices that could have been thought over a bit more. There is an interlude track that contains fine noodling, but really didn’t need to exist. The band also relies too much on their safe structures, such as the use of repeating notes either in syncopated passages to the effect discussed above or in straight eighth (sixteenth?) patterns to maintain a steady pulse. And despite setting themselves up well by giving the listener a structure that can be anticipated, the band sometimes doesn’t capitalize, resulting in passages that just feel uninflated. None of these problems are pervasive. More often than not, Among Wolves succeed with the tools they use, and show that they could have a great album in them if they can harness their skills for more consistent results.

Ephemeral isn’t a home run, but Among Wolves is solidly on-base. Despite some of the issues above, there were enough impressive moments and strong choice to keep me interested and enjoying this record no matter how often I listened to it. I recommend this to fans of the more fiery end of melodeath. There’s some stuff here that’s worth forgiving the issues.

Rating: 6/10


  1. Misty Eyes
  2. Deflector
  3. Metric
  4. Where Vikings Tread
  5. Enlightening
  6. Ephemeral

Total Playing Time: 27:16

Click here to visit Among Wolves’ Website