Wolf Wolf

Wolf Wolf (Massacred) 1999/2005

1. "In the Shadow of Steel" (1:43)
2. "Moonlight" (3:30)
3. "The Parasite" (4:55)
4. "Electric Raga" (3:08)
5. "The Voyage" (3:44)
6. "Desert Caravan" (5:48)
7. "The Sentinel" (5:15)
8. "243" [instrumental] (4:03)
9. "In the Eyes of the Sun" (7:44)
10. "Electric Raga" [demo] (3:16)
11. "Moonlight" [radio edit] (2:53)

Wolf is a band I didn't discover until about their third CD. I picked up "Evil Star" and went backwards through their catalog. "Evil Star" and "Black Wings" are both spectacular, galloping, heavy metal. However, I wasn't expecting the self-titled to stand up to those two albums because of the fact that it was an independent recording. However, I was wrong. Wolf's debut is every bit as good as the follow-up CDs. Recalling the glory days of Iron Maiden and Manowar, this album is chock full of metal passion. The songs are memorable, well written, melodic, yet heavy, and well played. Indeed, they hold their metal banner high and don't care to live in trends. Vocalist Niklas has a smooth, high voice that works well and gives the band their own unique stamp. There are several songs that have some very obvious influences. The first and most obvious is Iron Maiden, but then what traditional heavy metal band isn't influenced by Maiden? The jam in the middle of "In the Eyes of the Sun" has a Thin Lizzy vibe to it with those dual guitar harmonies. Overall, however, Wolf have managed to create a high quality classic metal album that is quite uniquely Wolf.

My copy is the remastered Massacre Records version, which also features new cover art. The track number 3 "The Parasite" is missing in the back cover track list and the booklet of the remaster, but the song is on the album itself

Black Wings Wolf - Black Wings (Prosthetic) 2002

1. "Night Stalker" (4:44)
2. "Demon Bell" (6:07)
3. "I Am the Devil" (6:03)
4. "Venom" (4:15)
5. "A World Bewitched" (4:36)
6. "The Curse" (3:57)
7. "Unholy Night" (5:58)
8. "Genocide" (3:41)
9. "A Dangerous Meeting" (5:00)

Wolf are one of those band who fly that old school heavy metal banner high and proud. There are no ballads here, nor is there anything I would describe as progressive. Wolf also steer clear of the modern power metal sound, even though some may still label them as such. "Black Wings" is just quality, authentic, heavy metal. The songs here much in common with bands like Sword, Dio, Metal Church and Mercyful Fate. The last one is a no brainer, as "A Dangerous Meeting" is a cover of the Mercyful Fate classic. "Venom" in particular has a 70's Judas Priest vibe to it. As well, Wolf have a definite NWOBHM influence, especially in the guitar riffs. Niklas Olsson’s voice is unique and will probably be an acquired taste for most. I tend to like unique voices, I enjoy Olsson's high vocal stylings. Wolf may not be the next big thing to come along, but for those longing for some new traditional metal, Wolf will more than satisfy.

Evil Star Wolf - Evil Star (Prosthetic Records) 2004

1. "Evil Star" (6:09)
2. "American Storm" (6:06)
3. "The Avenger" (5:41)
4. "Wolf's Blood" (3:54)
5. "Transylvanian Twilight" [instrumental] (1:27)
6. "Devil Moon" (6:52)
7. "Out Of Still Midnight" (3:59)
8. "The Dark" (5:35)
9. "Black Wing Rider" (4:28)
10. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (4:55)
11. "Die By the Sword" (4:08)
12. "I'm Not Afraid" (4:04)

I have to admit, with the sea of power metal bands I have received in the past couple years, many of them have bored me. They all pretty much sound the same. It seems that heavy metal has lost the 'fun' element and has been replaced with a new attitude of proving how technical or classically influenced the bands have become. I was sort of worried that Wolf would fall into this same category, but had read a few reviews that peaked my interest. Thanks to LaLa.com, I was able to check this band out for a reasonable price ($1.75). Wolf are not your typical power metal band. Actually, I wouldn't describe Wolf as power metal at all. Wolf have more in common with the early 80's NWOBHM scene and traditional heavy metal than they do what is currently called power metal. Without knowing much about the band's history, I'd be willing to be that some of the bands influences are Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Saxon and Diamond Head. Wolf are flying that 1980's heavy metal banner high and proud. There are lots of simplistic guitar riffs and solos, all of which are well executed. At times they have as sound almost reminiscent of early Maiden, although Niklas Olsson's vocals keep them miles from sounding like a Maiden clone. His voice is high, clean and has a charisma, somewhat like Joachim Cans of Hammerfall. Basically he has one of those love 'em or hate 'em styles that some metalhead will snear at, while others will love. Something must also be said of the production, as I think it has a huge part to do with the overall good feel of this disc. Peter Tagtgren has done an outstanding job of capturing this band's classic metal sound without the overall disc sounding dated. Included in this U.S. release is three cover tracks. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper" is a an ultra-cool Blue Oyster Cult cover. Wolf’s version of Slayer's "Die By The Sword” is outstanding. While the BOC track sticks pretty close to the original formula, the band takes more liberties with Slayer, making the song their own. The final track is a Ramones cover.

Ravenous Wolf - Ravenous (Century Media) 2009

1.    Speed On (3:46)
2.    Curse You Salem (3:52)
3.    Voodoo (4:19)
4.    Hail Caesar (3:50)
5.    Ravenous (3:57)
6.    Mr. Twisted (3:55)
7.    Love at First Bite (3:49)
8.    Secrets We Keep (4:52)
9.    Whisky Psycho Hellions (4:43)
10.  Hiding in Shadows (4:19)
11.  Blood Angel (6:27)

Raise the fist of the metal child , Wolf continue their legacy of creating true, classic heavy metal in the tradition of the great bands of the 1980’s. As would be expected from Wolf, there are fast songs delivering the goods in an endless headbanging barrage. "Speed On" has a driving riff and is a great choice of a lead of song. Likewise, "Hail Ceasar" is a headbanging speed metal anthem. Then there are the more mid-tempo bangers such as "Voodoo". This song reminds me of classic Mercyful Fate. Had this song appeared on "Melissa", no one would have been the wiser. During the bridge of "Curse You Salem", I couldn’t help but think of classic Iron Maiden. Most certainly, Wolf have never been afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, while at the same time never sounding like a clone of any one particular band.

Vocalist Niklas Stålvind sounds as good as he ever has, and would give some of the best singers a run for their money. The guitar work throughout, and especially the guitar solos, are superb. Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate fame makes a guest appearance, performing the first guitar solo on the title track. The infamous Mark Boals also makes a guest appearance recording backing vocals on "Love At First Bite". To add to the impressive list of guest artists, producer Roy Z (Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Rock, Halford) performs acoustic guitar on album closer "Blood Angel".  "Ravenous" is yet another solid, galloping, heavy metal album in the Wolf catalog.

Devil Seed Wolf - Devil Seed (Century Media) 2014

1.  Overture In C Shark [instrumental] (2:13)
2.  Shark Attack (3:27)
3.  Skeleton Woman (4:52)
4.  Surgeons Of Lobotomy (4:08)
5.  My Demon (3:58)
6.  I Am Pain (3:38)
7.  Back From The Grave (4:24)
8.  The Dark Passenger (5:35)
9.  River Everlost (5:20)
10. Frozen (4:14)
11. Killing Floor (5:21)

Of all the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal bands, Wolf has been around longer than most and has been leading the pack the entire way. "Devil Seed" is the band's seventh full-length studio album. They have always written slick, heavy and memorable songs with a big nod to classic bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate. Those influences are continued on "Devil Seed". Their last few albums have been a bit on the hyper side, but with "Devil Seed" the band slows things down and adopts a slightlydarker approach. Still, the songs are incredibly catchy starting with the riff-tastic instrumental with the cleverly titled “Overture in C Shark.” The instrumental acts as the opening for the incredibly catchy, head-banging opener "Shark Attack". It's a simple song that would fit nicely onto a classic album like "British Steel". These two songs act as a quick one-two punch that grabs the listener by the jugular. However, just when you think the pummeling is over the next song tightens the grip a bit more. "Skeleton Woman" is one of the best tracks on the album. This track is a mid-paced, riff-tastic, head-banger with big hooks. Other standout cuts include the scorching “Back From the Grave”, the moody “River Everlost”, the simple and catchy “My Demon” and the moody and dark “The Dark Passenger”.

At a tight just over 45 minutes long, the album is finished quickly and doesn’t overstay its welcome. As such, I tend to want to spin the album again as soon as it's over. The old adage, "always leave them wanting for more" is appropriate here. Wolf may not be the most unique band in the world, but what they do they do well. Nobody expect a jazz band to play anything but jazz, so why should a metal band be expected to do anything but play heavy metal? It's got melody, it's got heavy guitars, its got fist-pumping, head-banging, sing-along choruses. What more could anyone ask?

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