Having just released Eclipse last year, hardly anyone was expecting new music from Wolves at the Gate, so they have certainly given us a gift with the Dawn EP. Much like their 2015 Reprise EP, Dawn sees Wolves revisit their songs from Eclipse while stripping them down and truly reimagining them. There’s a world of difference between the original recordings and the versions found here, and this is much more than just a set of acoustic performances. These offerings, while considerably less aggressive, display the same spirit of the “full” versions. Dawn is nothing less than a complete rewriting of the atmosphere originally set by Eclipse.
Perhaps the most changed track, “A Voice in the Violence,” is almost unrecognizable. There’s less of a desperation and more of an introspection to this rendition. The original felt almost chaotically desperate – here it rings out as an inner reflection. The arrangement is beautifully done. “Face to Face” also holds a very interesting divergence. The second verse is particularly meaningful: originally a spoken-word delivery from Nick Detty, here it is almost like a poetry reading that is rendered painfully with gut-wrenching honesty. The soaring vocals in the line “Death made me alive” stand out as one of the most powerful moments in this work.
Sonically, this EP is perfectly balanced between quiet beauty and captivating reflection. This is most evident in “Drifter.” No longer the powerful anthem of Eclipse, it comes across more mournful, as a lament. There’s a new weight given to the chorus in this performance. Where “A Voice in the Violence” and “Face to Face” hold some of the largest differences, “Drifter” is the one track that hits the most powerfully in terms of its impact. Whereas it was easy to get lost in the production and instrumentation of the original, the simplicity of this reimagining forces the somber lyrics into the foreground, requiring that listeners engage with the content.
Reimagining heavy-hitting and aggressive music can always present challenges: will the sound be too different? Will anything be lost in translation? Will the heart of the music remain? In Dawn, Wolves at the Gate flex their creative muscle and display a musical dexterity that is a rarity in this scene. By taking their soaring rock and frenetically energetic performance and restyling it into soft, acoustic, and piano driven offerings, they show why they are unquestionably a staple in the industry.
For fans of: Dens, Dawn Michele, Disciple, Everything In Slow Motion