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The Best of Two Worlds
Posted May 19, 2015
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer

Wolves at the Gate is traditionally known for their no-holds-barred, theology-heavy approach to post-hardcore music. This has won them a dedicated fanbase who enjoys both engaging the energy of their sound as well as digging deep into the lyrics. New acoustic EP Reprise will make the later easier, presenting five fan favorites and one new track in a stripped back, ballad format that highlights the lyrics in a new way.
Contrary to what stereotype often dictates, hardcore singers tend to have some of the strongest, most fine-tuned voices of any genre currently on the market. The control it takes to slide between gritty screams and slick clean vocals demands vocal discipline, which can pay off beautifully in the event of a more restrained musical format. That is certainly true on Reprise. In addition to getting to hear a different side of vocalists Steve Cobucci and Nick Detty's voices, Wolves at the Gate draws on some powerful guest vocalists from groups like For Today, Come Wind and Citizens & Saints.
Perhaps the most notable guest vocal is offered by Emery's Toby Morell on "Relief." This song builds from Christ's words in 11:28, calling "come all ye weak and contrite, I'll strengthen and clothe you in white." It's a call that is particularly poignant in this quieter format, and Toby's vocals are a tasteful addition.
Many of the songs take on a different personality in this format, such as "The Bird and the Snake." In its original heavy incarnation the parabolic song felt harsh and borderline frightening, but here its delivery is mournful and evocative. The ethereal epic which ended VxV, "The Father's Bargain," is abridged and altered here to the shorter "Bargain," which carries the same exploration of the conversation within the Trinity about atonement, but in a way that is more musically accessible. Zach Bolen's (Citizens & Saints) vocals help round out the track.
New track "Waste" closes the album. Although it may have been easy to revert to the heavy sound for the new track, Wolves at the Gate opted to create another contemplative, haunting ballad in keeping with the sound of the rest of the EP. The song is a narrative, exploring the deep grace of God and the concept of both warning and mourning those who will not accept it. The result is darkly contemplative, sobering and instantly memorable.
Closing Thoughts:
I'm a sucker for some good hardcore, and also a sucker for well executed acoustic music. Reprise is the best of both those worlds. Wolves at the Gate's lyrics have always been so theologically rich, full of inventive imagery and spiritually challenging concepts, and this format brings that strength to the fore. Reprise is a moody yet redemptive masterpiece in 6 tracks, proving that Wolves at the Gate is certainly more than a one trick act.
Song to Download Now:
"Waste" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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