Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Am The Avalanche Has Wolverines

I Am An Avalanche
Given that Brooklyn-based rockers I Am The Avalanche has only produced three full-length albums in the ten years they've been together, Wolverines couldn't be just another release for the band. It had to their best release.

Most people will agree that it is, even if the progression smooths out some of their post-hardcore edges. I Am The Avalanche has truly put out its most cohesive album — the ten best tracks of 13 that they laid down in the studio.

It is everything they are touting— a tightly woven, cohesive album that truly captures the sound they wanted to produce with confidence. The album has a message too. The band chose Wolverines as the title to serve a metaphor for their own perseverance, a consistent theme throughout the album as they recant personal trials and triumphs.

Wolverines is a witness to their weathered post-hardcore sound. 

Many of the trials are personal too, torn from the pages of founding member and frontman Vinnie Caruana's life. The most obvious is The Shape I'm In, which addresses a serious back injury he endured. The herniated disc left him bedridden and in agonizing pain for about three months.

The painkillers and Hurricane Sandy proved to be a near deadly combination for the singer, who slipped into a stupor. It isn't the only place that the hurricane creeps into the album either. Where Are You? captures how people felt in the aftermath of the devastation. It's brutal but not nearly as personal as the song the band teased out as an album promotion.

The video was shot in Brooklyn, incorporating some neighborhoods not far from where the band lives. It captures not only the frustration Caruana felt by being controlled by his medical condition, but also the way Brooklyn felt in the wake of the storm. There is adversity but you know he never gives up.

The album opener, Two Runaways, carries the same energy while breaking away from more introspective lyrics. The track tells a story instead about two hard knock kids who make a break from their life by relying on each other. Caruana makes it clear they have heart and maybe that is all they need.

It sets an excellent pace for the album, especially with 177 following. It's another spirited story track, with the emphasis on staying put and sticking it out regardless of the consequence. The tune will become a contender for one of the best tracks on the album over time. It will be brilliant live.

Young Kerouacs, which channels some of the wanderlust of early Jack Kerouac, is an even-handed song about friendship. Wolverines twists one of the worsts days into one of the most anthemic tracks. Anna Lee is the heartbreaker of the bunch, with Caruana devastated but accepting of what was lost.

"I think it's our most well thought out and least rushed record," says Caruana. "Time spent at rock bottom and also feelings of personal triumph have shaped what I feel is the perfect record for us as a band and for our supporters as well."

Wolverines By I Am The Avalanche Rocks 8.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

There aren't any bad tracks on the album even if some arrangement similarities begin to feel slightly overtaxed by the end of the album. That would be problematic for most bands, but listening to Caruana, Brandon Swanson (guitar), Brett "The Ratt" Romnes (drums), and John Oliva (bass) never becomes too tiresome. The time they took to create it was obviously well spent, with additional props to The Ratt for producing it.

You can find Wolverines by I Am The Avalanche on Amazon. The album, Wolverines, is also available from Barnes & Noble or you can download it from iTunes. I Am The Avalanche is currently on tour along the East Coast and Midwest. They also plan to hit the West Coast before their European tour in May. Visit Facebook for a complete schedule.
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