In late 2011, Ohio post-hardcore outfit Wolves At The Gate unholstered their guns and fired a warning shot in the form of their debut EP, We Are the Ones. The 6-song set quickly gained the band a well-deserved reputation among fans and critics as a forward-thinking, art-minded group whose music was as cerebral and nuanced as it was ferocious and deliciously heavy.
Now, after months of relentless touring, which saw both the band’s hype and fan base swell, Wolves At The Gate are ready to pull the trigger on the release of their first full-length, Captors, an album that easily surpasses the huge potential previously displayed. No longer constrained by the limits of an EP, the members were able to showcase the explosive growth of their songwriting, from luscious, melodic rock tracks to lip-splitting hardcore stomps.
“On Captors, listeners will definitely hear a more mature version of WATG with a clearer vision of how we approach our songwriting” explains guitarist/vocalist Steve Cobucci. “As a band we have always desired to step outside the box and approach playing heavy music in a different way. There are aspect of metal that we find awesome and intense, there are elements of the hardcore scene that really appeal to us, but we don’t feel like that’s what listeners can hear in our music. A lot of these songs are written on the acoustic guitar because first and foremost we want people to hear songs, not just a collection of interesting parts.”
Produced by Andreas Magnussen (OH, SLEEPER, HASTE THE DAY, etc), Captors is a blisteringly heavy full-length debut with the potential to appeal to every variety of rock enthusiast – from fans of metalcore to traditional metal to mainstream hard rock. It’s an album that – like those of some of WOLVES AT THE GATE’s influences (As Cities Burn, Thrice, Foo Fighters, Underoath) – avoids pigeonholes and easy labels. Too artsy for “hardcore,” too hard-hitting for “rock,” the band members have jokingly given their music a label all its own: apple-core.
“Andreas was a blast to work with! He has a great work ethic and a real ability to hear what a band should sound like,” Cobucci says of the recording process. That’s not to say the time in the studio wasn’t without its share of hiccups, however. “None of this stuff was Andreas’ fault at all, but it seemed as if all the odds were against us,” Cobucci laughs. “We persistently ran into technical difficulties, whether it be with gear, hard drive crashes, or software glitches. Despite all of that, we persevered, and we’re thrilled with how the record turned out.”
While most young bands spend their first few albums floundering for a sense of identity and purpose, Wolves At The Gate have artfully reversed the equation. From its inception, the band was fueled by a set of powerful principles and spiritually driven mandates against which every song, every move, every lyric is measured. “I love seeing passion in music. I love reading lyrics that are true and from the heart, and I appreciate musicians that write music they are passionate about and not falling into what is popular in the scene,” Cobucci says. “It has been such a privilege to be blessed with the chance to give purpose to the gifts that God has given us. It’s important to us that our songs have purpose both musically and lyrically and we hope that the combination will cause the listener to think and to feel the message we are seeking to convey.”
Since uniting in the small town of Cedarville, Ohio, in 2008, Wolves At The Gate have seemed destined for bigger and better things, as if tugged along by some invisible force. Little did they know just a few years ago that they would soon be touring with bands they had grown up listening to on their iPods, recording with producers whose work they admired and signing with a label – Solid State Records – they had long respected.
“As you could probably gather, we’ve had a blast so far,” says Cobucci. “Having the opportunity to write music for a living has been surreal for us for a number of reasons. We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Europe and play music there, filmed a bunch of music videos, played with awesome bands that we truly respect, and travel the country together with our best friends. It’s been wild.”
The warning shot has been fired. With the release of Captors, Wolves At The Gate are taking aim at the hearts of music fans everywhere. The countdown has begun.