As incredible as the tour was, the pairing of Coheed and Cambria and Between the Buried and Me in 2013 had caused a bit of head scratching. Certainly, the Venn Diagram of audiences on that trek had quite a bit of overlap given both acts’ prog leanings and love of conceptual universes, but you could really feel the divide in the room between fans of either band.
Chances are, if you’re on this website in the first place, you’d likely find yourself in the center of that Vinn Diagram because you know that catchy post-hardcore and technically-minded prog metal compliment each other well. And if that is indeed the case, then you’re going to love Philadelphia’s In The Presence of Wolves.
The act are gearing up to release a new EP this month titled Of Two Minds – Stages 1-2: The Ape and The Cage, a conceptual work that tells the story of twin brothers, one diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and the other neurotypical. The brother with mental illness takes his life, leaving the other to struggle with the first two stages of grief while he investigates his brother’s suicide. These lyrical themes are delivered with hook-laden and often theatrical soaring vocals over a backdrop of prog and jazz influenced post-hardcore.
The band were kind enough to elaborate on their wide array of influences by offering a rundown of the definitive records that inspired them to pursue music as both fans and developing musicians. Check out The Anatomy Of In The Presence Of Wolves below.
Porcupine Tree – In Absentia
Though we all had several albums and bands that introduced us to progressive music, this is the album that solidified the kind of band we wanted to be. Whenever any member joined ITPOW, Chris [Capitanio, guitar] would burn them a copy of this album. It hits all the characteristics of progressive rock but the technical side never gets in the way of its fantastic songwriting. It’s an incredibly dynamic record that straddles the line between rock and metal in a way that really rubbed off on us. It’s an album that continually influences us in new ways.
The Mars Volta – Deloused in the Comatorium
This is another album that influenced us heavily from inception and continues to do so. As a band that came from a hardcore background (At The Drive-In), The Mars Volta introduced something that most progressive music was missing… energy. The music is fantastic and it’s a complex concept record with cool, cryptic lyrics but it’s the energy that makes this album feel so fresh. It’s an incredible blend of Latin music, hardcore, King Crimson, and jazz fusion that’s volatile and unpredictable. In other words, it’s all the best things.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out
Jazz has always been a large influence on us and an important element of our sound. “Time Out” is one of the most crucial for its use of odd time signatures. Mason grew up with the album and Chris and Vini [Stamato, bass]’s high school jazz band class performed “Take Five” a few times which ingrained it into us early on. It still plays a role in our desire to utilize odd time signatures in ways that don’t feel contrived. Additionally, the opening riff of “Man of the Times” from our last album, Thalassas, was written based around the rhythm of “Blue Rondo a la Turk” in tribute to Brubeck on the day that he passed away. To this day, we still play a few measures of “Take Five” when noodling around at some gigs/practices.
King Crimson – Discipline
Everyone in the band has their own jumping on point with Crimson but this seems to be the most overall influential to us. Our producer Kevin Antreassian [of The Dillinger Escape Plan] once quipped that our song “Thalassas II” was our “King Crimson song” and played us a bunch of this record, which we were surprisingly unfamiliar with at the time. Since then it’s become a big influence on us with its intricate use of unusual rhythms and cerebral compositions but we’ve also noted how influential this album has been for us indirectly. So many acts that inspired us early on, including Tool and Between the Buried and Me, were heavily influenced by this album and we were blissfully unaware.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Miss Machine
Since working with Kevin, who plays rhythm guitar for Dillinger in addition to his work at Backroom Studios, The Dillinger Escape Plan has become such a huge source of inspiration for us, musically and otherwise. We’ve adopted a lot of their “Jersey” attitude and found ourselves become a much more aggressive band because of it, which is especially reflected in our live performances. Musically, they’re a band that is often imitated but truly no one can touch them when it comes to what they do. This album is the perfect blend of that initial aggression and spastic, controlled-chaos that they became known for but also features the melodic edge that showed they were far more than a one trick pony. Additionally, in a pretty full-circle moment, this was the first Dillinger album that Mason got and he used the same snare drum that Chris Pennie used on this album on our upcoming album, Of Two Minds, Stages 1-2: The Ape and The Cage.
In The Presence of Wolves’ new EP Of Two Minds — Stages 1 – 2: The Ape and The Cage will be available June 30th. Pre-orders for the record are available via the band’s Bandcamp. Grab a taste of the EP’s first single, “The One Who Fell To Earth,” below.