Archive for July 3, 2009

wolf-ravenous

Wolf – Ravenous (2009, Century Media)

  1. Speed On
  2. Curse You Salem
  3. Voodoo
  4. Hail Caesar
  5. Ravenous
  6. Mr. Twisted
  7. Love At First Bite
  8. Secrets We Keep
  9. Whisky Psycho Hellions
  10. Hiding In Shadows
  11. Blood Angel

wolf 2009

Band Lineup:
Niklas Stålvind - Lead Vocals & Guitars
Johannes Axeman – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Anders Modd – Bass
Richard Holmgren – Drums

Producer: Roy Z

Country: Sweden

Total Time = 47:51

Wolf
Wolf MySpace page
Century Media Records

Wolf has been around for close to 15 years and releasing albums since 1999. Their style is unashamedly old school showing devotion to the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Ozzy and pretty much anything fitting the classic ’80s Metal sound. It’s no surprise that the band’s latest album, RAVENOUS, follows the same successful formula and seems like it came out of time warp and landed in 2009.

Opening track ‘Speed On’ starts off with a speedy opening guitar that sounds like something from Maiden or Helloween and absolutely competes with today’s Power Metal peers like Hammerfall and Primal Fear. The key is the power of the twin guitars, right away you can hear all the Maidenisms between Niklas Stålvind and Johannes Axeman that remind of the classic Maiden duo of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. Same thing goes for ‘Curse You Salem’, you listen to that guitar attack and it sounds just like Iron Maiden, if you switched in Bruce Dickinson at the mic, you would swear it was a long lost ’80s track from the NWOBHM pioneers. That doesn’t mean that the music is completely copycat or ripped off, the band is largely influenced from the classic metal period of the ’80s and they bring that forward in their playing. I find it refreshing actually…..there isn’t any growling or unintelligible singing and the drums don’t sound like a bunch of tin cans being tapped repeatedly, it sounds like good solid Metal. ‘Voodoo’ starts off with a simple riff and vocal intro that kicks into an evil groove that almost sounds like early L.A. Hard Rock like Motley Crue or W.A.S.P. but with a little more edge. The dual guitar melodies are there again and the trade-off solos are really great. This is definitely one of my favorites from the album.

More speedy Classic Metal/Power Metal comes with ‘Hail Caesar’, a song that has enough riffs to satisfy but the repetitive chorus is distracting, and ‘Ravenous’, that sounds like something out of the Hammerfall playbook with it’s big gang choruses and crashing drums. The middle solo in ‘Ravenous’ reminds me again of both Maiden and Priest guitar duos and it’s right at this moment that I think I’ve figured out that Niklas Stålvind’s vocals sound like a combination of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Harnell (TNT) and Joacim Cans (Hammerfall)…..a weird combination but he does have that high vocal going. Another couple of favorites off the album are ‘Mr. Twisted’ and ‘Love At First Bite’. ‘Mr. Twisted’ has that Helloween influence to it but in more of a dark way kind of like the songs on Helloween’s 2000 album THE DARK RIDE while ‘Love At First Bite’ sounds like something Accept would have released back in the early days. Both songs have that European/German Metal influence and they sound full and powerful with big guitars. If there was a song on the album that I didn’t really get into it would be ‘Secrets We Keep’ because it pretty much sounds like the rest of the album and there really isn’t anything that really stands out for me except maybe the harmonized guitars for the solo.

‘Whisky Psycho Hellions’ brings back that dangerous/evil sound to the music as the song creeps along at a good pace and the vocals really add to the mood. The classic sounding guitars kick in for the chorus and solo giving it that dated ’80s feel but the drawback is the chorus itself with the shouting gang vocals that make it all sound distorted. I like the Doom laden opening to ‘Hiding In Shadows’ that kicks into a monster galloping riff that makes the song a driving force. It’s almost like a raw but powerful combination of classic ’80s L.A. Metal from the early Metal Blade roster mixed with Judas Priest. ‘Blood Angel’ opens with a subdued guitar intro that reminds me of an Ozzy ballad but the guitar quickly moves into the main riff that sounds more Hard Rock than Metal. The song has groove and bounces along with it’s simple riff and drum pattern while Stålvind lays down more of a Hard Rock vocal…..it all sounds like Accept or revved up Crue, maybe Ratt on steroids.

Bottom Line:
I got into Wolf late, somewhere around 2004 when they released EVIL STAR, but they have become one of those bands that I think are one of the most underrated in Metal. The band has a style that some say is dated but, in this current world of Metal, it’s actually refreshing. Classic Metal is what built all the other subgenres we have today and Wolf takes that influence and creates balls to the wall Metal. The Iron Maiden and Judas Priest influence is there in spades because of the dual guitars and the song structure but it’s hard to fault the band for following such a successful formula. RAVENOUS was released back in mid-February and it hasn’t left the regular rotation on my stereo or iPod. If you’re a fan of early ’80s Metal, Maiden, Priest, Helloween or Accept then RAVENOUS is definitely worth checking out. I own 4 out of 5 Wolf albums (missing 2006′s THE BLACK FLAME) and none have disappointed me yet.

Favorite Songs:
‘Speed On’, ‘Voodoo’, ‘Mr. Twisted’, ‘Love At First Bite’, ‘Hiding In Shadows’, ‘Blood Angel’

The track listing for MEGADETH’s twelfth studio album, ENDGAME, which is due on September 15 through Roadrunner Records. The CD was recorded at the band’s own studio in San Marcos, California – Vic’s Garage – which was named after their legendary and iconic Vic Rattlehead character.

Megadeth endgame 

ENDGAME tracklisting: ‘Dialectic Chaos’, ‘This Day We Fight!’, ’44 Minutes’, ’1,320′, ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’, ‘Bodies Left Behind’, ‘Endgame’, ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go… Sealed With A Kiss’, ‘Headcrusher’, ‘How the Story Ends’, ‘Nothing Left To Lose’.

On Tuesday, July 7th, Roadrunnerrecords.com will be offering up an exclusive download of the new Megadeth song ‘Headcrusher’.

Endgame is being produced by Andy Sneap and Dave Mustaine. Sneap also manned the boards for 2007’s United Abominations.

Endgame boasts the technicality, ferocity and snarl that’s synonymous with Megadeth and Mustaine. It’s a violent masterwork that represents Mustaine’s best work in nearly two decades. In a musical world dominated by bands that make generic, blanket statements, Endgame finds Mustaine, once again, making informed and substantial lyrical declarations about the state of the world we live in.

Mustaine himself commented on Endgame, saying, “Thematically, I’ve never been known to be a silent bystander in a world that needs our participation. As more is revealed about our former President’s legacy, a little-known yet staggeringly frightening document which was signed into law, named ‘Endgame,’ has been uncovered. The album Endgame is the most energetic music offering I have penned in over a decade and is far more believable than knowing someone signed ‘Endgame’ -the document- into law. The album is also the perfect ‘ass- kicking’ music to listen to once you are done reading the aforementioned document!”

In short, it’s the Megadeth record that fans of classics like So Far, So Good… So What? and Rust In Peace have been chomping at the bit for.

“This new album is my proudest moment since the famous (or infamous) Rust In Peace album,” Mustaine also said. “With this album, I am also very excited to be introducing my new lead guitarist Chris Broderick to the world. I have always felt lucky to have had top shredders in that position, but after touring with Chris in support of my last album, I couldn’t wait to get into the studio and see what he could do.”

Megadeth’s lineup consists of Mustaine, Broderick, bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Shawn Drover.

WANTED

oz fire in the brain

Oz – Fire in The Brain (1983)

I have wanted this album for a long time but I never got around to picking it up. Back in the day I remember seeing the vinyl record at Luke’s Record Exchange and Good Vibrations, and it was advertised in all the magazines, but I never got around to actually buying a copy. I did sample it though! In the early ’80s, record stores were more than happy to let people preview a record on the store’s stereo system and that’s exactly what I did. I was 10 years old at the time and buying up cassettes with my weekly allowance but I could never find a cassette copy of FIRE IN THE BRAIN…..the funny thing is that 26 years later there are 2 or 3 cassette copies at the same store in my hometown that I previewed the vinyl at when I was a kid! The album is readily available on Ebay on vinyl and CD so I’m watching the auctions closely. In the meantime, I have been enjoying the album over at Vibrations Of Doom. You can’t download it from the website but you can listen to it.