Q&A: Wolf King on Debut Album, “Loyal to the Soil”

Bay Area blackened hardcore outfit Wolf King released their first full-length album, Loyal to the Soil, late in April. The follow up to debut EP Into the Infinite, Wolf King zeroed in on their sound for the album, crafting a mix between hardcore and various sub-genres of extreme metal. Decibel spoke with vocalist Tim Wilson and guitarist Jake Broughton about Loyal to the Soil, touring and Wolf King’s influences. The album is out now on Prosthetic.

Loyal to the Soil is your debut long-player, following [EP] Into the Infinite in 2016. How has Wolf King as a band changed since then?
Jake: Since the latest releases we refined our sound and direction, matured as a band throughout touring with bands of various genres. I think overall learning from our peers and our management/booking team we found our true direction.

“Loyal to the Soil” has two parts, as does “Mortals.” How are these songs related to each other, or why did you choose to give them the same name?
Jake: The message is relative throughout both of the songs, but the feeling that’s being portrayed changes.

What are your influences on Loyal to the Soil? There’s obviously some black metal going on, some pretty chaotic hardcore and plenty of really groovy, moshable parts. What ingredients make a Wolf King album?
Jake:A really well thought out flow of dynamics that are held together with ear catching riffs.

Tim, in a previous interview, you mentioned that Loyal to the Soil is a harder, more aggressive approach to Wolf King than Into the Infinite was. What led to the change, and are you happy with the way the shift in sound came out?
Tim: Yeah totally, with Into the Infinite I think we were jamming on a lot of doom/heavy bands in that genre. Going into Loyal to the Soil, we were getting influenced on bands like Gatecreeper, Power Trip, etc. which is way cooler to play live. I think with our new refined sound we can crush live shows. We’re super excited for the future to come

You’ve toured and played with a pretty diverse list of bands, including Empyrean Throne, Whitechapel, Archspire, Cattle Decap, Enfold Darkness and more. Typically, hardcore and metal crowds are known to be pretty different from each other. Have you experienced this, and has playing with these bands affected your approach to writing music?
Jake: Yes, absolutely, playing with a group of diverse bands like the ones listed above have been an experience to play with. You’re trying to catch the ear of the metal crowd and also the ear of the hardcore crowd at the same time. Usually it works in our favor, but we try to stay true to our music without flip flopping to stay to one sound.

What was the process of writing and recording the album like? Smooth and natural, hard and painful?
Tim and Jake: It was really smooth, working with Cody Fuentes at Rapture Recordings has been one of the smoothest and least stressful recording processes. We were with him over the course of two months tracking and finishing up the record. He’s really awesome and helping out with advice and techniques on how to make certain parts sound more crushing than we expected.