Ambitiously developing his prolificness after releasing three-track single Thumbscrews two June’s ago, Tatius Wolff’s second solo release The Relapse comes with a conceptual backstory deeper than a large amount of modern metal. After a sudden hospitalisation due to a bowel infection in October 2017, with a relapsing health decline five weeks later, Australian-Maltese metal
musician Stephan ‘Wolff’ Borg decided to channel his vulnerability and uncertainty into producing a full-length concept album informed by the impact
of illness. Formerly the lead guitarist of Maltese doom-death metal group Oblique Visions, Wolff’s solo project is inspired largely by 90s alternative
and industrial metal groups like Type O Negative, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones and Tool. Channelling a love of concept albums such as Pink Floyd’s The Wall,
Wolff wrote, performed, programmed and produced the nine sonically and thematically challenging tracks that constitute The Relapse.
The album’s release on June 8th signifies an advanced level of studio proficiency and artistic vision to see the project run its course, based off subject
matter that resonates deeply with its creator. At it’s core, The Relapse is self-described by Wolff as an ‘emotional roller-coaster ride’.
"I wanted to expose my vulnerabilities”, states the artist, speaking to online blog AEA Zine. “I guess the whole process was a bit cathartic, as I explored and unpacked my personal experience.”
We hear album-defining tracks such as ‘The Shock’ and ‘The Tormentor’ undergo constant transformation, warping through layers of icy synth, pounding
programmed drums, grisly distortion and ominous, reverberating vocals to instil an insidious feeling of cold dread. As far as lyrics go, they’re non-specific
enough to be universally relatable. Although the album wasn’t written to be pessimistic, Wolff understands how it could be viewed as such, though for
him it was “just a life experience”.
Through a symbiotic relationship between man and machine, Tatius Wolff has ultimately delivered a chilling slab of experimental metal, resonating emotionally
with those who understand the full impact of debilitating medical conditions. As for the future, looking out from early May 2019, a 15 track concept
project and/or a conceptual set of three EPs have already been vaguely theorised. To relate to the creative force of The Relapse, Wolff nihilistically
says “as long as the music makes you move, it doesn’t matter”. Have a listen for yourself, but prepare to be shocked and inspired in equal
measure. An achievement in artistic expression as personal as it is professional.