Metamorphosis is a twelve-track opus bookended with winter forest scenes from both WolfWolf‘s native Switzerland and gothic fiction images making it difficult to attempt to unmask this grim assortment of ghostly legends.
Their deep love of classic horror fills this album. Literary lyrics deeply rooted in western European folklore are tossed together with gospel lore and secular qualms. Musically, this creepy houses filled with restless spirits is flavoured with many styles.
Side one opens with Lucifer, where Mister Wolf (vocals) recites his catalogue of crimes the Devil made him commit with a fear of mortality. His gravelly voice adds to the mood. Interesting lyrics and humourous wordplay run throughout Metamorphosis with the music bouncing from Punk to Blues to Sixties Garage to New Wave to Looney Tunes classically inspired backing tracks. The songs ebb and flow like the tide.
In The Gin Diary, Mister (guitar) Wolf’s Mississippi delta blues lays the foundation for Mister Wolf’s (vocals) drunken bluster as they trample melodies and twist formulas with the music matching the howl. Side one ends with Dark Night, bringing things down a notch to an almost country feel, sung as a duet from the perspective of the Böögg.
Side two kicks off with I Crushed the Devil with the chord accenting the vocals s to celebrate the defeat of Old Nick in a hymn with over-the-top percussion holding everything together. The single Fat Fly has dance grooves and tonal guitar underpinning the Sprechgesang duet with Yello’s Dieter Meier. It takes you one place before diving into the fifties jazz feel of the following tracks.
A moving trumpet weaves with the guitar. She’s a Threat and Tiger Time both have the feel of a morose dirge, but the lyrics create the atmosphere. Like Robert Johnson, Edith Piaf, and Hank Williams before them, WolfWolf question the simple mysteries of life. The eternal search for somewhere other than here. However, side two’s closing track jumps from melancholia to acceptance of mortality. Here, the beautiful, swirling Time to Say Goodbye brings this dark trip to a close. The track builds with layers of vocals beautifully underpinned by the guitar and banjo.
This album is as chaotic as inadvertently interrupting a pack of werewolves in their game of Helvetiq. The only unvarying aspect is the darkness.