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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Toronto Dark-Folk Luminaries Broken Wolves Mourn Lost Dreams On 'The Summons'

By Eric Alper.

Every generation has had to deal with their share of existential threats, and the members of Broken Wolves are no different. With his Toronto-based dark-folk act Broken Wolves, lead singer and guitarist Lennox Campbell-Berzins grapples with the looming threat of climate change and channels his anxieties onto their Medieval-inspired new single "The Summons."

Led by Campbell-Berzins's affecting, Nick Cave-esque baritone, "The Summons" sets a gloomy, meditative tone with ethereal backing harmonies, atmospheric synth, and ominous, marching percussion. Meanwhile, the lyrics evoke images of nocturnal unrest and chilly forestal settings that are equal parts unforgiving and beautiful.

We chased it down to the viaduct

The portal to our dreams

Where all the hidden truths that we seek

Are splayed in winding streams

Lay my bones in bondage there

Beneath the naked moon

Set me free my sweetness

And I will join you soon

On the chorus, "The Summons" blossoms into a rich, thudding cacophony of sound, helped along by vox players Aniqa Qadir and Alex Gage (also on guitar), bassist James Atin Godden, and drummer Matthew Wallace. Despite its grandiose delivery, "The Summons" is utterly haunting in its solemnity.

"The Summons" is taken from Broken Wolves' debut album of the same name, which Campbell-Berzins first dreamed up in 2016/2017 and later recorded in 2019 at Taurus Recording with Jesse Turnbull, Rogers Communication Center Multitrack Studio with Joseph Shemoun, Jordan Paluck, and Thomas Rapaport, and Blanket Fort Studios with James Atin-Godden.

"I was leading my old project Ruby Cikada... I was hinting at a new project I wanted to initiate that was darker, heavier, and more psych-inspired," Campbell-Berzins says. "I was writing a lot of darker folk tunes with a hint of medievalism to it, most of which were inspired by my fears and anxieties around climate change. This topic, while maybe subtle or unrecognizable within the music, was one of the major foundations when starting the project. I wanted to talk about an issue that was universal, contemporary and in a lot of ways generational, and one that I thought, wasn’t being addressed by many peers."

Originating in 2017, Broken Wolves blend baroque tones, alternative and progressive rock with added dashes of medieval and folkloric flair. Initially composed of previous members of Ruby Cikada (2012-2017), Broken Wolves released their official live debut in 2019 and a short live EP and video series, Live at Taurus, in 2020. Initially featuring a rotating lineup, Broken Wolves soon solidified their membership and released their first full-length album, The Summons, in October 2022. Through a gothic-folk lens, The Summons acts as a vehicle for Broken Wolves to examine the folkloric struggle of humanity vs. nature in the context of modern issues around environmentalism and climate change.

Based out of Toronto, ON, Broken Wolves is a “dark folk”/ psychedelic rock band characterized by influences from folk, alternative rock, progressive rock, and medieval art. Originating in 2017, the band was initially compromised of previous members of Ruby Cikada (2012-2017) and has since seen a rotation of members before coalescing into it’s current quintet format. Following their official live debut in 2019, the band recorded a short live EP and video series (“Live at Taurus”, 2020) and released their first full-length album, “The Summons”, in October 2022. Of the many themes in the music, the content is highly focused on depicting the classic folkloric struggle of humanity vs. nature in the context of modern issues around environmentalism and climate change.


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