Brotherhood of the wolves

The slogan “Music should hurt” was never so appropriate

by Keri Carlson

Humans are required to have at least one self-destructive habit. It can be as common as coffee and cigarettes or as harmful as crack and cutting. We all have our vices, and listening to the Michigan-based noise band Wolf Eyes is just another example.

The second track on the group’s latest album, “Burned Mind,” is titled “Stabbed in the Face.” Wolf Eyes’ music inspires exactly that. Some bands sing about pain – Wolf Eyes actually causes it. The abrasive static and brutally piercing beeps could make ears bleed.

Wolf Eyes may seem like a band purely for masochists; however, remnants of pop forms can be dug out from underneath the clamor and screeching. The record, after all, is released on big-time indie label Sub Pop – the album can’t be solely for people who own Lou Reed’s “Metal Music Machine.”

The greatest moments of “Burned Mind” arrive when the unruly noise is sorted into loud, pulsating thumps. The beats, crafted not from a drum but by chainsawlike electronics and tape meddling, create a hypnotic trudge. Imagine hearing a slow Black Sabbath song on a radio station that vaguely comes in – flickering between metal and noise – and you get a sense of Wolf Eyes’ sound.

But to reach the more structured songs, there are plenty of haunted-house-like atmosphere tracks to sift through. Wolf Eyes do not make their music easy or even pleasurable.

So why bother listening to Wolf Eyes? The answer is because of the band’s intensity. You don’t listen to this stuff to feel the music on an emotional level. Crank it loud to feel it physically, deep within the caves of your chest.

Wolf Eyes

album: “Burned Mind”

label: Sub Pop