Bad Wolves have received a lot of press this year, but not for the reasons they would’ve liked. Their highly-publicized fallout with original vocalist Tommy Vext has lead to litigation not only between Vext and his former bandmates but their label Better Noise Music as well, a legal battle that’s only recently been settled as of this writing. In the midst of this chaos, former The Acacia Strain guitarist Daniel “D.L” Laskiewicz was brought in as Vext’s replacement and Bad Wolves quickly set on their way to record their follow-up to 2019’s N.A.T.I.O.N. Now the end product, Dear Monsters is here, representing some semblance of newfound order for the band after a long and turbulent period that just now seems to be winding down.
Bad Wolves waste no time on this record, coming out ripping with the heavy-but-hooky “Sacred Kiss” and the crushing “Never Be The Same”, the latter of which fully showcases Laskiewicz and how great of a fit his vocals are to the Wolves sound. Next we get the soaring, melodic “Lifeline” and the equally huge and harmonious “Wildfire”, moving seamlessly from there into the dark nihilism of “Comatose”. “Gone” is more of a run-of-the-mill tune in line with the cleaner sound of the last few tunes while “On The Case” veers sharply into curb-stomping Five Finger Death Punch-style brutality. From there we get the djenty “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and the poppy, upbeat “Springfield Summer”, contrasted sharply by the relentless hammering of “House of Cards” and bottomless riffing of “Classical”. “In The Middle” caps the record off, ending on a chill, atmospheric note, at least in comparison to the overwhelming heaviness of the rest of the record.
For somebody who joined the band less than a year ago, D.L Laskiewicz made short work of proving himself on this record (if he even needed to). The combination of D.L and Bad Wolves is an undeniable match that won’t require anywhere near the same amount of settling in as other bands do with new members; especially when it comes to vocalists. With that in mind, one can’t help but be optimistic after listening to Dear Monsters for what lies ahead. To go through a chaotic split with an old member and quickly bring someone in who fits that well is rare and remarkable and speaks to the amount of potential waiting to be tapped into here. We can fully trust Bad Wolves based on their maneuvers thus far to fully act on these opportunities, creating nothing but the best product they can next time and every foreseeable time after.