Review Summary: The best album art ever. Oh, and a sweet record as well.
Wolf is a Heavy Metal band hailing from Sweden. Normally, I couldn’t care less about a Heavy Metal revival band, but the unique art of their eponymous debut album grabbed my attention. Fortunately, after listening to it a couple of times, it turned out to be a decent record. Even though I was expecting something entirely different, In the Shadow of Steel was a delightful surprise. My personal favourite track and only 100 seconds in length, the song revolves around the same riff throughout. The song is probably the most powerful and "raw" of the entire album; it thrashes hard and true.
The rest of the songs in the album aren’t very similar to the opening track, but they are great in a different way. Moonlight, for example, is melodic and slow, with an incredibly catchy chorus. Other pieces, like The Sentinel and Desert Caravan, are more epic-like, with many different riffs and relatively unique and interesting structure.
The album isn’t all-perfect though. The last two tracks, the instrumental 243 and the 7-minute long In the Eyes of the Sun, bring the album down quite a bit. While they aren’t too bad overall, the huge similarity to some Iron Maiden songs is too obvious to ignore. 243 sounds way too much like Losfer Words from Powerslave, and the epic closing track rips off ideas from many Iron Maiden songs, notably Powerslave's title track. In fact, the song's intro, outro and middle section sound exactly like parts of Powerslave and The Duelists. It is beyond me how the band didn’t notice the similarities themselves and decided to throw out the tracks, but harsh criticism aside, the songs do have enough originality to be enjoyable, and they aren’t awful enough to destroy the entire album.
One of the things I liked most about Wolf's first album was the production. Despite the fact that the record is fairly new, the production is raw enough to give the album a certain mood and atmosphere. It isn’t as good as the production on classic albums of the genre, but it is most definitely one of the greatest modern productions. The vocals are also an obvious quality of the album. The vocalists and guitarists Niklas Olsson is an amazing one; his vocals sound very great and they fit the album perfectly.
Wolf is one of the best debuts of the last centuries. It is not anything particularly new or innovative, but it pays homage to the 80's NWOBHM acts, and adds something of its own. While some parts of it aren’t original, the album makes up for it with amazing songs like the opening track. I would recommend for anyone who enjoys classic heavy metal.
Wolf was released in April, 2000. The record label is No Fashion Records and it is 39:49 minutes long.
- In The Shadow Of Steel
- The Parasite
Niklas Olsson - Vocals, Guitars
Mikael Goding - Bass
Daniel Bergkvist - Drums
Producer - Wolf
Hans Arnold - Cover art