It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Swedish EBM here at ID:UD. We’ve done a mixtape on it, and even formed our own pizza society based on it. That said, we’re regularly surprised at how much variety and vitality there can be in such a specific niche genre. Newcomers (but given their anonymity who can say?) Wulfband whip up their own spin on the genre by bridging German fundamentals with the quirkier sides of Swedish music of all stripes to fantastic effect.
So much of Wulfband’s trappings and presentation fit the template of more recent anhalt bands like Container 90 and Spetznaz that it’s easy to mistake them for another traditionalist act dedicated to classical aggression above all. Like those aforementioned countrymen, Wulfband clip tunes to three minutes or less and keep most of them them in the 160BPM range. Basslines are kept simple and punchy, sharing time with simply programmed kicks. “Jetz” and “Weg”‘s chopped syncopation and panicked barks would handily fit in at Familientreffen without any of the boozy crowd missing a beat.
But despite singing exclusively in German, the band’s Swedish roots can’t be denied, and it’s in melding that side of things to a more traditional German or Belgian EBM sound that Wulfband truly let loose, sounding both more aggressive and less beholden to formula. Around the edges of the beats there’s a frantic zaniness in the choice of synth sounds (as on the pitchbending of “Chaostanzen”) which borrows from fields far further out than EBM. The vocals (of either Sieben or Neun – I can’t determine which alias is which) are shrieked violently, and yet bizarrely feel closer to those of, say, Vanligt Folk or Kite than the more traditional EBM sources (McCarthy, Gabi).
The easiest parallel which could be drawn to Wulfband would be Spark!, but while Spark! made a virtue of seeing just how far EBM could be stretched into synthpop territory without snapping, Wulfband’s aesthetic feels more subversive. Sieben and Neun have gone plundering on foreign shores, bringing back all manner of sounds to be welded to the resilient body of traditional EBM. The resulting hybrid is perhaps somewhat demented, but is also completely beguiling and ferocious. Recommended.