As much as the Nostalgia Brigade would like you to believe that the 90s only had Nirvana to offer, there was a myriad of styles and genres doing the rounds, in used cd shops, badly rewound tapes and the odd vinyl (only Pearl Jam were iconoclastic enough to release a major album on vinyl). One of the genres that time seems to forget (until Fugazi and Frodus are namedropped) is post-hardcore, a mixture of the rawness of punk with the technical skills and open landscapes that only math rock can create.
In a lonely cliff where these two genres meet lies Wolfhunt and their slightly (just) lo-fi EP, Manuscripts. 3 fifths of distortion and 2 fifths of ambient make for a succinct but tasty offering, opening with an aptly atmospheric (and punchy) track called ‘Introduction’. Less than 2 and a half minutes long, it has enough punch to both introduce and define the band.
‘The Magician’ will probably be the most played song of Manuscripts. Mind you, it’s not the only great track here, but it certainly is the one with the most memorable moments. And, hey, how many times have you heard “potassium” in lyrics? I’m biased because I work with chemicals most of the time, mind you. Awesome punky breakdown, too.
‘Enter the karma circle’ and ‘Slow down’ are like a tree and a climbing ivy. The former is a slow build-up grafted to the skin of the latter. If that doesn’t make sense, then: ‘Enter the karma circle’ is primer, ‘Slow down’ is the glossy paint with a strange texture that adds grit to an otherwise empty wall. ‘Exit the karma circle’ is the climax of the EP, the hardest and loudest part, saved for the end. Clocking a beautiful 7 minutes means that everyone (and I stress: everyone) gets their chance to swath the air with copious amounts of notes and ideas. It’s a perfect end Manuscripts, with a slight aftertaste of nostalgia. Maybe if you crank the volume up you can still hear the hissing of the tape nearing its end, fading out like the feedback that recedes back to the ocean while an acoustic guitar plucks goodbye.
See them live.