F U L L . R E V I E W S


Wolf - The Black Flame - 2006 - Century Media

Track Listing
1. I Will Kill Again
2. At the Graveyard
3. Black Magic
4. Bite
5. Make Friends with Your Nightmares
6. Demon
7. Dead
8. Seize the Night
9. Steelwinged Savage Reaper
10. Children of the Black Flame
Sweden's answer to Iron Maiden rages back to life with "The Black Flame", a roaring old school metal fest that combines NWOBHM melody with powerful and pulverizing displays of galloping might. In years past I would have guessed Wolf would have massed a huge following, possibly kicked into the mainstream world with the likes of 3 Inches Of Blood and Trivium. However I will say that Wolf's sound has always been a bit dated even with fantastic production values. In 2004 the group's "Evil Star" highlighted my year end playlists, conjuring up memories of Lynott and Thin Lizzy as well as crossing into the land of Quartz, Grim Reaper, and of course older Mercyful Fate from over two decades ago. So does the band's fourth record still carry that same traditional sound? That is the question I had as I hit play.

"The Black Flame" is possibly the album that sounds less dated than the previous three Wolf ventures. With albums like "Evil Wings" and "Evil Star" these Swedish leathernecks basically continued on as if it was 1982, never really breaking into any type of new setting other than production. However with this record the band is more about modern power metal, maybe dipping into Sweden's current crop of superstars to gain a bit of momentum for this effort. While the band still showcases a dazzling display of melody, twin guitar harmony, and of course super clean vocals, I can also hear a good shot of heavy groove based riffing, most evident on the fist pounding metallic slab "Bite", which just blazes with an Iced Earth style gallop throughout. You can also hear some newer elements on the high speed "Steelwinged Savage Reaper", a personal highlight of the record for me. The band's opening cut is a thunderous chop that leaves the chorus hammered in your head. "At The Graveyard", "Black Magic", and "Make Friends With Your Nightmares" recalls seasoned Wolf, really hitting on the melodic nature of the beast. The band is of course still deeply mired in '40s and '50s horror, with most of the songwriting like a blend of Poe and old school magazines like "Eerie Tales". At times the band also writes in the style of Mercyful Fate, with "At The Graveyard" really recalling that "Under The Oath" vibe.

Bottom Line - Overall this is probably one of my favorite Wolf records to date, an album that may possibly alienate them from their core fanbase but a good change of pace from past workings. I like the more modern feel of the band and I think at this point it was a much needed change.



--EC 11.14.06
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: WOLF
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Evil StarWolf
2003
Vinaya Saksena6/9/2004
Legions Of BastardsWolf
2011
David Loveless7/15/2011
RavenousWolf
2009
Raising Iron5/15/2009
The Black FlameWolf
2006
Eric Compton11/29/2006


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: WOLF
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Devil SeedWolf
2014
Eric Compton11/12/2014
Legions of BastardsWolf
2011
Chris Kincaid6/15/2011


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: WOLF
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Niklas StålvindWolfDavid Loveless7/15/2011


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