There’s a desperate sense of mission to VxV—the sophomore album by Wolves at the Gate—heard in the fervency of the band’s musicianship and the biblical rigor of their tunes. While still definably post-hardcore in sound, the band stretch out beyond the genre with spoken-word passages and prog-rock arrangement ideas. Nick Detty’s larynx-searing screams and Steve Cobucci’s melodic vocals create a tension that captures the spiritual struggle raging in the songs. Lyrically, VxV places God at the album's center as it returns again and again to the theme of Christ’s love and sacrifice. Whether exalting the Savior with blazing guitars (“Wake Up”), meditating upon redemption in rumbling tones (“East to West”), or embracing the Light to a surging beat (“The Convicted”), the band never flag in energy or zeal. “Dust to Dust” is probably the album’s heaviest tune, while “The Bird and the Snake” is a standout ballad. At six-plus minutes, the closing track, “The Father’s Bargain,” veers from volcanic eruptions to serene passages as it sums up VxV’s devotional, ultimately hopeful message.