Wailin Storms – Shiver

Music critics can be fickle, but even worse they can be lazy.  Lazy reviews focus too much on simple details.  This riff is good blah blah etc.  Further, they typically rely on the most common of lazy errors, that being name-dropping.  “For fans of…” is the veritable slogan for almost every review site in existence.  It’s understandable, because sometimes a particular band just sounds so Goddamn much like another you can’t resist.  It’s easy and it makes the job of the critic easier.  But true criticism goes beyond these things, it finds its own way to explain, it makes it personal, gonzo, if you will.  The plethora of sites out there all do what we’ve just discussed, whereas here we know you like your details surrounded by personal journeys and insanity.  We take you through our minds, through the experience of the music itself, but hey, if you want to read about ten paragraphs that break down every detail in every track on every album, go ahead, get out of here.  We’re not about that kind of thing, details and name-dropping, so it’s not going to happen a single time in this review, even though Wailin Storms almost requires everything we just said we hated.


It’s quite sad we weren’t introduced to these guys before October, because this is some damn fine Halloween music, and we mean that entirely in praise.  Not the costume-bedecked, I’m-a-zombie-grrr let’s go on a 5K zombie run kind of Halloween, or a “is this appropriation?” Halloween, we mean the dark, the dreary, the sense of death surrounding us as the leaves give their last gasp through their dying colors, and the cold begins to creep in to put everything into the grave for a few months.  Some bands have gotten this idea, some haven’t, in fact most usually don’t when it’s attempted because they go far too classic. They hoot, they holler, they slick their hair back, the sing about Frankenstein, and then they act like that’s just how you’re supposed to do it. Wailin Storms say no, they say no sir, or madam, there are other ways of creating this sound of Halloween.  The sad part is we actually received this promo back in June or so, which means it would have been great for an actual Halloween review, but hey, we’re totally inundated with bands who want to read what we have to say about their music in the most indirect way possible, but only so many are as good as Wailin Storms and deserve our time.


We’ve been privy to Magic Bullet Records before, but it’s been some time since we’ve seen anything from them, so Shiver is the perfect reunion, or better to say renewal of our vows.  It was previously released by the band, but now that The Bullet is soon releasing their newest one, they’re putting this out there as well.  We’re not even going to pull out genre tags for this, we’re going to explain how it feels, because everyone these days is about feelings.  Wailin Storms is something like riding on a decaying horse through a ghost town that’s covered in black mold.  You are that depressed, undead cowboy with the empty eye socket, staring out into the emptiness ahead with a pinpoint of flame deep in that blackened recess.  Through Wailin Storms and their dark, foreboding, ritualistic presence, you become a total corruption of what we perceive as “The West”, a skeletal cowboy with liquor dripping from its moldered ribcage that hacks out the most beautiful acoustics one could imagine.  The combination of Southern atmosphere with darkness is absolutely ingenious here, it’s like if the film Ghost Rider was actually considered good to those who were not already Ghost Rider fans and who looked past the fact that it was Nicholas Cage all along.  Wailin Storms is Western Decadence and decay at its finest, using old horror imagery delicately with a sense of freshness in spite of how decayed and archetypal it is.  Shiver is filled with brooding poetics, acoustics that sound brittle and weathered, vocals that crack with cancerous smoke spewing from the lungs, it’s easily one of the best albums we’ve heard this year, so yeah, you should probably buy it or something.


Wailin Storms Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Wailin Storms: Shiver
Magic Bullet Records
4.8 / 5