It’s been seven years since Story Of The Year released their fourth album The Constant, while not as commercially successful as it’s predecessors The Black Swan and Page Avenue it still proved to be a big hit with longtime fans. After a years touring cycle the band soon found themselves entering a hiatus to the dismay of many. However, true to vocalist Dan Marsala’s words when summing up The Constant’s message, ’The Constant can mean anything, hopefully our band will go on forever’, they reunited just two years later to mark Page Avenue’s ten year anniversary. Although a re-worked rendition of the album was on offer in midst of the celebrations, the question still begged ‘When will we see new material?’ It would take three years for Story of the Year to finally unveil their long-awaited fifth album Wolves and the wait has been well and truly worth it.
When the record was announced back in October, Marsala stated that "This album is us breaking through any rules or creative parameters we may have set for ourselves in the past" and those words ring clear throughout the fourteen songs that have been offered up. The band embrace their post-hardcore roots in the crushing verses that weave the tale of ‘The Enteral Battle for Mike Cronin’s Soul’ and the adrenaline filled opener ‘How Can We Go On?’. Fans of 2005 album, In The Wake of Determination will definitely enjoy hearing their heavier side seeping through in these two tracks as Marsala demonstrates his harsh vocal chops.
A series of interludes thread ‘Wolves’ together nicely with the title track opening up the record on a cinematic note while ‘Youth’ gives guitarist Ryan Phillips a chance to showcase his shredding ability in a transcending build-up to the anthemic ‘I Swear I’m Okay’. A pop-rock sensibility is introduced in ‘Like Ghosts’ and ‘Praying for Rain’ with both songs providing stadium worthy choruses. An emotional turmoil pierces through Marsala’s vocals in ‘Like Ghosts’ as he laments apologies to his loved ones. ‘Praying for Rain’ clocks in at over seven minutes making it the longest Story Of The Year song to date and it’s an absolutely captivating listen.
Balancing on the line between fearlessness and vulnerability Story Of The Year have captured the intensities of fighting through mental battles across a 45 minutes epic. Seven years was well worth the wait, they’ve completely outdone themselves with ‘Wolves’.