Introducing: Wolftopia

Finnish band Wolftopia offer up a thrillingly dark melodic death metal sound that perfectly marries aggression with emotion. These two qualities supplement each other superbly in an offering that’s frantic and heavy yet equally sweeping and grandiose, which the band delightfully describe as “bombastic, melodic and fast.”

The band is based in Vaasa, on the west coast of Finland, but has international roots in Russia-born Aleksander Okhotnikov (vocals and guitar) and Netherlands-born Tim Reus (bass) alongside Topi Karhunen (lead guitar) and Tom Israels (drums). It started out in 2017, when Aleksander saw Tom playing live and drunkenly convinced him to join his project. Tim joined a year later, before Topi completed the lineup.

And as Aleksander tells us: “By that time, I had written enough material for an entire album and we were smack in the middle of a pandemic. So we set about recording our debut album, Ways of the Pack, right away.”

That album is set to be released on 17 December but the band have teased us with a few singles from it. Our first taste was recent single Hound of War, which the band describe as being one of the most straightforward tracks on the album but gives us a taste of their fast-paced, melodic and atmospheric death metal approach.

It opens up with double guitar riffs over ludicrously heavy drums in an intense yet engaging intro. That feeds into Aleksander’s vicious vocals through an opening verse that ends on atmospheric instrumentals. The heavy vocals return with driving drums and stabbing guitars, then more gothic instrumentals support growled vocals that end on a huge scream before even heavier drums and a cool little guitar riff.

A spinning guitar lick jumps in to support massive vocals, before the pace drops a little and feeds into a delicious guitar solo. That feeds into more huge vocals and intense drums supporting fun guitar riffs to take the track to a lively ending.

On the track, Aleksander told us: “The reception has been amazing! With the marketing Inverse (our record label) arranged we’ve reached a huge audience, and it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the positive things that are being written about the track. We’re really grateful for this reception, and very excited about the future! If you haven’t heard Hound of War yet, it’s a fast-paced, aggressive death metal song with sweeping melodies, raging guitar riffs, super fast drums, and grandiose synths. If you’re looking for an intense musical experience, go check it out.” You can do just that here:

That track was followed by the release of Wash The Spears, which was released last week. It opens up with a cool stabbing riff that explodes into heavy vocals supported by sweeping guitars and crushing drums. It develops into a fun riff that continues in support of big screamed vocals alongside subtle atmospheric synths.

Another fun riff kicks in during a big atmospheric instrumental section, then a spinning riff gives way to a fast-paced guitar solo. Heavy vocals return before a big atmospheric conclusion. Check it out in the video here:

The band also has a couple of earlier singles available that are well worth checking out, I Am The Storm and May He Sever The Shadow. But the big news is the upcoming release of their debut album, on which Aleksander told us they are: “So excited. The reception for Hound of War has already been overwhelming, so we expect the album, with eight songs, to be eight times as overwhelming!

Hound of War opens the album and gives a good taste of what we’re about, but there’s also much more to discover on the album. It’s really quite varied, and we’re excited to see how people react to that. Which type of songs they like best, what they react to… It’s not just a release, but it’s also a learning experience for us, in that way. We’re really hyped, at least!”

Wolftopia draw influence from a wide range of bands and musical genres, but call out their biggest influences as being Iced Earth, Hypocrisy, and Blind Guardian.

And on what inspires their music, Aleksander explains: “I’m mainly driven by my passion for music and metal. Sometimes inspiration strikes with a melody or riff that’s stuck in your head, sometimes it strikes from a random factor, like your surroundings, state of mind, experiences, etc… And sometimes it’s just a puzzle of how to make some older idea sound good and expand upon it. Usually writing songs is a combination of both, one eventually leading to another.”

There’s plenty more to come from Wolftopia, including the release of their debut album Ways of the Pack on 17 December, which you can pre-order here. They’re also keen to play live and meet their fans as soon as the threat of the pandemic allows shows to resume, and they’ve already started work on writing more new music.

And, summarising the Wolftopia sound, Aleksander adds: “It’s equally both harsh and beautiful melodic death metal with fantasy literature inspired lyrics. What’s not to love there?”

You can follow Wolftopia on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer. And discover more great new bands on their record label Inverse Records.

Listen to Wolftopia on our Spotify playlists GigRadar Core, GigRadar Metal
and GigRadar Nordic

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