Because it’s been widely known for years that the singular purpose of every plant and creature living in or around Australia is to kill you, our friends down under don’t actually have much of a requirement for mythical monsters. Not when the natural world is more than willing to fulfil that need entirely by itself.
Sure, there are many folk tales of creatures such as the amphibious Bunyip, aquatic mer-creature(s) The Muldjewangk, little red frog-like man The Yara-mara-yha-who, and of course the savagely carnivorous cousin to the koala, the tourist-hungry Dropbear. Werewolf mythology, however, is surprisingly thin on the ground, the desert-dwelling Irrinja being probably its closest relative. Even in cinema, werewolf horror isn’t exactly plentiful, the country’s only notable entry being 1987’s Howling III – The Marsupials, a particularly peculiar sequel which features shapeshifting nuns, werewolves with pouches, and some spectacularly bad acting.
With a distinct lack of lupine terror coming from the land of Aus, it’s time for Melbourne trio Werewolves to step up, fangs bared and chins dripping with blood and gore. Third full-length album From The Cave to the Grave (Prosthetic Records), finds the band in fine, flesh-tearing form as Psycroptic drummer Dave Haley smashes his kit into oblivion keeping up with vocalist Sam Bean and guitarist Matt Wilcock (The Berzerker) as they pulverise vocal cords, instruments and faces.
One thing Aussies have never been famed for is their grasp of subtlety so it comes as no surprise to find that after a brief sample lifted from Wes Anderson‘s 2014 comedy drama The Grand Budapest Hotel, the first lines of opener ‘Self-Help Book-Burning’ consist of a repeated, “Fuck you!” followed by an inhuman roar and “I’ll fucking kill you”!
The deep philosophising continues with ‘We Are Better than You’, a cut which contains the classic line, “Looking at you makes me want to spew, you cunting fuckhead fuckwit!” before ending with an abrupt “fuck off” from Brick Top, Alan Ford‘s sneering gangster in Guy Ritchie movie Snatch. To be fair, it’s exactly the sort of song you’d play on a romantic night out. If your date happened to be Shane Embury of Napalm Death.
The bloodbath continues with the lycanthropic feeding frenzy of ‘All the Better to Eat You With’ and the blackened death metal carnage of ‘Crushing Heaven’s Mandate’. ‘Harvest of the Skulls’ shows some restraint as moody open chords become a Satyricon style black metal chugathon before the total nihilism of ‘Oedipus Tyrannus’ ends with a snarling Mick Taylor from Wolf Creek. ‘Nuclear Family Holocaust’ seethes contemptuously while ‘Pride and Extreme Prejudice’ is all blood, cannibalism, drooling and erections – sort of like Powerwolf murdering nuns while listening to Anaal Nathrakh – before closer ‘Watch Your Mouth’ delivers one last brutal savaging. No room for the faint of heart (or ears), From The Cave to the Grave is an unapologetically abrasive slab of antipodean indignation. Unafraid to tell things as they are, the world needs Werewolves.
8 / 10