Wolf: Evil Star (Prosthetic, 2003) Reviewed by: Vinaya
|Track Listing1. Evil Star|
2. American Storm
3. The Avenger
4. Wolf's Blood
5. Transylvanian Twilight
6. Devil Moon
7. Out Of Still Midnight
8. The Dark
9. Black Wing Rider
10.(Don't Fear) The Reaper
11. Die By The Sword (Bonus Track)
12. I’m Not Afraid Of Life (Bonus Track)
Fate has been kind to traditional, old-school metal fans lately. No, Maiden didn’t win a Grammy for Best Rock Album; and no Helloween didn’t knock any of those insufferable boy bands from the number one spot on the Billboard charts. But in terms of sheer product, the last few months (and years for that matter) have been fruitful ones for Euro, Power and Traditional Metal. And while show-stealing reunions (Priest with Halford, Maiden with Dickinson and Smith, etc) have played a large part in this resurgence, young upstarts the world over have done their best to, in the words of HammerFall, Keep The Flame Burning.
Speaking of Hammerfall, their home country of Sweden is responsible for producing many of those fine young acts, including Wolf. Having quickly gained a reputation for their solid invocations of Maiden, these young purists have taken the next step and invoked the best of the Scandinavian metal scene of the early to mid eighties. Evil Star finds the band filling up their sound with more chugging rhythms, more eerie melodies, and more of that pleasantly grating, upper midrange-loaded guitar sound that fueled countless underground Euro Metal albums of the mid-’80’s.
Yes, for lovers of that icy, glory-bound Swedish metal style of days gone by, this is a pleasing listen indeed. I must admit, however, that many of the tracks simply fly by, bombarding me with a pleasant semi-gothic vibe, but not really becoming etched into my memory. But when Wolf’s songs shine, man do they shine bright! “Wolf’s Blood” and “American Storm” boast complicated but catchy riffs in spades, while the opening title track is so insanely catchy and memorable, it should be arrested for loitering in my head. The production helps too, with crisp drums and those nice abrasive guitars (could use a little more low end, though). And guitarist Niklas A. Olsson’s vocals do wonders for the songs, adding drama and a certain tension to the band’s gripping and somewhat sinister melodies.
Yes, it’s one for the old school alright. The only thing that keeps me from raving about this disc is the presence of several tracks that simply don’t make much of an impression, exacerbated by the presence of three covers out of twelve songs (although Slayer’s “Die By The Sword” really cooks here). And again, the mix would be almost lethal with more bass. But hey, if vintage Swedish steel is what floats your boat, you would do well to hitch your wagon to this Evil Star.