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Wolf - "Ravenous" (CD)

Wolf - "Ravenous" CD cover image

"Ravenous" track listing:

1. Speed On (3:46)
2. Curse You Salem (3:54)
3. Voodoo (4:19)
4. Hail Caesar (3:48)
5. Ravenous (3:59)
6. Mr. Twisted (3:54)
7. Love At First Bite (3:49)
8. Secrets We Keep (4:52)
9. Whisky Psych Hellions (4:42)
10. Hiding In Shadows (4:20)
11. Blood Angel (6:26)

Reviewed by on May 19, 2009

"'Curse You Salem' sounds just like something Iron Maiden would have put out thirty years ago."

One thing that Swedish retro-metal act Wolf has become famous for is its devotion to classic metal. With guitar rhythms and drumbeats that can’t help but take you back to the days of Iron Maiden, albeit with the occasional glam shred, and vocalist Niklas Stalvind's uncanny vocal similarity to Ozzy, fans of old school won’t be disappointed with Wolf’s latest release, "Ravenous."

The album opens with a touch of speed metal, courtesy of the aptly titled "Speed On," before delving into the world of classic metal and anti-religious themes on "Curse You Salem" through "Hail Caesar." Though tracks two through four all have lyrics that may be witty and thought-provoking, the anti-establishment theme tends to become a bit tedious. Even so, "Curse You Salem" sounds just like something Iron Maiden would have put out thirty years ago.

Surprisingly, the title track is one of the weakest songs, thanks to a cymbal frenzy that is completely mismatched with the low range guitar chords, resulting in an empty and unsatisfying sound. But Wolf makes up for the faux pas with both "Mr. Twisted" and "Love At First Bite." "Mr. Twisted" is a great lyrical piece that delves into the mind of psychosis, and is a good speed metal-ish tune with just the right amount of variation in drums and guitar. "Love At First Bite" has so many archetypes you don’t know where to begin, but for those who appreciate scale climbing guitars and lyrics that are erotic without being vulgar, "Love At First Bite" is an excellent choice.

Probably the most classic sounding track is "Whisky Psych Hellions," an overall great tune that features some of the best screeching vocals Stalvind has to offer. The verses are still melodic, though, and help make the song reminiscent of the 80’s.

The first half of the album is decent, but nothing earth shattering. The second half is significantly better, which fortunately leaves you with the feeling that what you just listened to was pretty good, if not great. "Ravenous" doesn’t really break any new ground, but fans of Iron Maiden and AC/DC fashioned metal will probably be well pleased.

Highs: Stalvind’s voice is so similar to Ozzy’s, you may feel like you’ve gone back in time thirty years.

Lows: First half of the album drags, and drums on "Ravenous" don’t mix with the other instruments.

Bottom line: A decent choice for fans of classic metal acts like AC/DC and Iron Maiden.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)