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Lonewolf - "Army Of The Damned" (CD)

Lonewolf - "Army Of The Damned" CD cover image

"Army Of The Damned" track listing:

1. Lonewolf (4:36)
2. Crawling to Hell (4:56)
3. Army of the Damned (4:23)
4. Hellbent for Metal (3:09)
5. Soulreapers (3:07)
6. Celtic Heart (5:59)
7. The Last Defenders (4:12)
8. Cold (5:49)
9. The One You Never See (4:58)
10. Tally Ho (5:50)
11. One Second in Eternity (3:40)

Reviewed by on March 21, 2012

"...it is virtually impossible to review this album without bringing up the obvious comparisons to Running Wild."

In 2009, by default, France’s Lonewolf was the “surviving Running Wild” when Rolf packed up his pirate ship following Wacken 2009 and went home. For those unaware of Lonewolf, the band was created in 1991 and was named after the Running Wild song from “Blazon Stone.” Ironically, the last time Lonewolf surfaced with a new LP, it was “The Dark Crusade” in that same fateful year of 2009. Flashforward to 2012 with Running Wild on the precipice of releasing “Shadowmaker” in April, and now Lonewolf resurfaces with “Army of The Damned,” due out in the end of March.

So, if it’s just a name and a date coincidence, then who cares right? After all, Running Wild took its name from Judas Priest. Well, Lonewolf, while maintaining its own identity, also took on some of Running Wild’s major characteristics, namely the near pinpoint accuracy of the guitar sound as well as a tendency to share similar lyrical content. From its beginning Lonewolf has been, more or less, a testament to the career of Running Wild. Though despite the comparisons, I thoroughly enjoyed all of Lonewolf’s albums, including “Army of the Damned.”

The band continues this trend with more tasty power metal. However, it is virtually impossible to review this album without bringing up the obvious comparisons to Running Wild. For example, the song “Lonewolf” is more than highly reminiscent of “Adventure Galley,” “Cold” has virtually the same riff as “Black Hand Inn” and “Tally Ho” blisters off the same sound as “Riding the Storm.”

Comparisons aside, Lonewolf actually does have an identity all its own and it is it shown nowhere better than through Jens Börner’s vocals, which sound much more like Grave Digger’s Chris Boltendahl than Rock ‘N’ Rolf’s. Then there are distinctive tracks like the epic “Army of the Damned,” “The Last Defenders” and “The One You Never See” (featuring the king of album cameos, Blaze Bayley). Lonewolf also continues its tradition of amazingly catchy choruses with “Crawling to Hell,” “Celtic Heart” and album favorite “Hell Bent for Metal.”

So why does the world need two bands that sound like Running Wild? Well, after Running Wild released “The Rivalry” in 1998, the band was on the decline. The holes that popped in the aged/stagnant sinking pirate ship were cemented with “true to form Running Wild” style of Lonewolf, which diehard fans craved. In many ways, Lonewolf exceeded the latter Running Wild albums…and it did so as a more of a cohesive band. But irony strikes again, as Lonewolf's mainman Jens Börner is also his band’s only original member. Coincidence?

Highs: Lonewolf produces a sound more true to Running Wild than latter day Running Wild.

Lows: Some fans would consider this a copycat.

Bottom line: "Army of the Damned" is a "foreshadow(maker)" of a Running Wild album yet to come!

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)