On first glance, Tommy Stewart’s Dyrewulf is quite a departure from the bassist/vocalist’s best known band Hallows Eve. While any project helmed by Mr. Stewart will be drenched in B-movie macabre theatrics, Dyerwulf is a doom metal two piece devoid of Hallows Eve’s thrash influence. The duo’s second full-length album does have some interesting ideas and largely avoids the clichés of the bass and drums setup, even if the execution is rather rough.
Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf avoids the amp worship navel gazing popularized by two piece staples like Om and Bell Witch, instead opting for a more gothic approach. Comparisons could be made to Glenn Danzig’s mid-80s Samhain project, as this album features a similarly raw production job and the compositions consist of twisted drones set to echoing drums rising from a cavernous cacophony. In addition, Stewart’s bass tone has a fuzzy yet sharp tone reminiscent of Peter Steele’s early works, and the more melodic moments recall Ministry’s underrated Filth Pig.
This setup is intriguing on paper, but much like Danzig’s recent efforts, the execution is too raw for its own good. A rough, lo-fi sound is to be expected from a two piece recording live in the studio, but there doesn’t seem to have been any attempt to polish the music in post. This results in the songs becoming much less distinct from one another, having already run that risk thanks to the thin vocals and dynamic-free bass playing.
It also doesn’t help that the actual songwriting is pretty inconsistent. Attempts at variety are undermined by the production, as quirky songs like the cover of “Porpoise Song” and the oddly titled “The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles” end up sounding sloppy while others like “Behold! Your World Now Burns” and “With Darkened Eyes” seem directionless. Fortunately, the opening “Lilith Crimson Deep” has a punchy riff set and I do think the slowed down take on Hallows Eve’s “Horrorshow” is pretty cool, even if it may drone on for a bit longer than it should.
I wish I liked Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf more than I actually do. Hallows Eve certainly made for campy fun and this duo has a more unique sound than your typical Al Cisneros aping, but the production and indistinct songwriting make this effort seem more like a really rough demo than an actual album. I imagine this format sounds more powerful in the live setting and I’ll be hoping for a more thorough presentation next time around, but I’d recommend listening to the debut album by Bludy Gyres if you really want to see Tommy Stewart in a solid doom environment.
“Lilith Crimson Deep”
“Through a Dead Man’s Eye
“Prince of Fools”
Tommy Stewart’s Dyrewulf is now available via Soman Records.