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Death Wolf - "Death Wolf" (CD)

Death Wolf - "Death Wolf" CD cover image

"Death Wolf" track listing:

1. Circle of Abomination
2. Weaving Death
3. The Other Hell
4. Morning Czar Shineth
5. Ironwood
6. Sword and Flame
7. Wolfs Pallid Sister
8. Ramsvard
9. Unto Dying Eyes
10. Black Mark
11. Coming Forth By Night

Reviewed by on May 27, 2011

"...those looking for a similar act to supplement their Danzig collection should give Death Wolf a listen."

Death Wolf marks the third phase of Morgan Håkansson’s (Marduk) tribute to all things Glenn Danzig. Death Wolf started as a Misfits cover band, then became Devils Whorehouse and now wears the mark, Death Wolf. Death Wolf, as did Devils Whorehouse, pays homage to Danzig’s classic bands, but obviously done by the founder and guitarist of Marduk.

“Circle of Abomination” opens the self-titled release with what appears as unmistakable black metal guitar play, but the riffs ends on a note more aligned with The Ramones than Marduk. From punks to thrashers and black metal heathens, this opening riff is a circle pit just waiting to happen. “Weaving Death” drops any black metal resemblance, moving with the simplistic chords of Samhain and the Misfits.

Death Wolf’s faster punk songs are catchy and filled with aggressive energy, but the group is at its best on songs with a greater diversity of tempo. Not only does Maelstrom emit smoother vocals—he mostly yells the fast parts—the group can better explore the atmosphere embodied in the “Northern end themes and death hymns.” “Circle of Abomination” ends with ill-omened bells and strange guitar effects. The heavily distorted guitar notes on “Ironwood” references the doom-filled vibe of classic John Christ/Toni Iommi ax work. The oriental scales and ringing notes of “Wolf’s Pallid Sister” convey similar mystic movements as Marduk’s mid-era song “Summers End.”

Instead of joining in a three-minute speed fest, Death Wolf pays more attention to composition during these moodier tracks. On “Morning Czar Shineth,” Morgan’s bass lines open the song to the tune of howling wolves. This part would work well on the score for a Bela Lugosi film. The tempo perfectly waxes and wanes during “The Other Hell.” Makko’s single string guitar rhythms and Maelstrom’s mellifluous vocal tones are as close as the band comes to capturing the dark beauty found in Danzig recordings.

No one could say Death Wolf rips off Danzig’s three bands. The fact that elements from his punk and metal days appear together marks something different. While not as apparent as early Devils Whorehouse, the black metal parts still lie below the surface. Still, anyone who hears this will say it sounds like Danzig and start the comparisons. Danzig has fuller chorus lines, which in the end makes his music more accessible. However, Death Wolf contains fuller guitar sounds. In the end, those looking for a similar act to supplement their Danzig collection should give Death Wolf a listen.

Highs: Mix of punk, heavy metal and black metal that simply works.

Lows: Death Wolf lacks Danzig's accessible chorus lines.

Bottom line: Death Wolf lacks the quality of Danzig in some regards, but outdoes him in other ways. Fans of Danzig should check out the record.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)