Wolf People - Ruins
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2014's Fain saw the English rockers pounding out a mystic blast of bottom-heavy folk-rock that split the difference between "Immigrant Song"-era Led Zeppelin, the heavier side of Fairport Convention, and the bug-eyed, progressive folk-rock outliers Comus. The aptly named Ruins continues down that leafy, Wicker-Man-with-Marshall--stacks path, doubling down on the neo-pagan psych-metal with a knotty 12-track set that boasts some of the band's best material to date. The LP wastes little time in going for the jugular, delivering a pair of bluesy, wickedly fuzzed-out stadium fillers in "Ninth Night" and "Rhine Sagas," With each new album, Wolf People have been steadily upping their game in the six-string department, and Ruins is no exception, with guitarists Jack Sharp and Joe Hollick unleashing torrents of nervy, reel-kissed riffage that consistently threads the needle between major and minor -- think Richard Thompson at his most unhinged. Flush with enough lumbering behemoths of wah-pedal-driven bonfire metal to entice even the most ardent sludge and stoner fan, what sets Wolf People apart from the Melvins and Mastodon crowd is their obvious love for the music of their fellow countrymen. Both "Kingfisher" and "Salts Mill," easily the most bucolic of the bunch, wouldn't have sounded out of place on Steeleye Span's Hark! The Village Wait, and the flange- and feedback-laden "Not Me Sir," with its Madchester backbeat, owes more to the Stone Roses than it does Black Sabbath. That said, Ruins is an undeniably heavy bit of business, and if given time to work its magic, it will both infect and inspire.