Wolf

Wolf – Feeding the Machine Review

Wolf – Feeding the Machine Review

Wolf came into being in the mid-1990s just as the metal scene was poised for a big retro nostalgia trend. A product of their time, they followed the lead of acts like Hammerfall and jumped aboard that “let’s do the 80s metal thing all over again” train with enthusiasm. Their 1999 debut mixed speed and traditional metal influences in ways big and small and managed to impart a degree of youthful vim and vigor to the olde timey sounds. As the band grew and evolved they continued to mine the 80s for all they were worth. After 2014s Devil’s Seed the band went silent and underwent personnel shuffles. 6 years later they reemerge from their steely cocoon with a new lineup, grisly, Korn-esque cover art and 8th album, Feeding the Machine.” Feeding time at the petting zoo.

Twisted Tower Dire – Wars in the Unknown Review

Twisted Tower Dire – Wars in the Unknown Review

“If all the metal genres got together at a day spa for grooming and pampering, Trve Metal would have the hairiest back in the place and require the most wax and patience. Sure, brutal death and slam are more Neanderthal and low brow, but the trve world revolves around bravado-drenched, chest beating tales of swords, sorcery and sandals to such an extent that it brings out the inner barbarian pelt in even the most introverted, basement-dwelling LARPers. Virginia’s Twisted Tower Dire always mined the depths of this Hyborian ethos, searching for their Arkenstone of inspiration.” Slash and burn.

Evil Invaders – Pulses of Pleasure Review

Evil Invaders – Pulses of Pleasure Review

“There was a time before the Bay Area thrash explosion where bands were playing fairly fast without it actually being what we now consider thrash metal. Acts like Exciter, Agent Steel, Attacker and even Razor were surely speedy and had the rudiments of thrash in place, but are now referred to as speed metal. Belgian upstarts Evil Invaders look to plant their flag right at the junction between speed and thrash, and tip their hand by using Razor‘s best known ditty as their moniker.” Have you ever been screamed at by a crazy cat lady? Do you want to be?

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Striker – City of Gold

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Striker – City of Gold

“I’ll fully admit that I have a soft spot for fun in my metal. After all, a man can only listen to Ulcerate growl about entropy, Triptykon purging Tom G.’s demons, and Kvarforth whining about how long it took him to clean out his bathtub after his fateful promo video (I don’t speak Swedish, so this is conjecture) so much, and even though I greatly enjoy all of those artists and listen to their great work regularly, sometimes a change of pace is needed. Enter Alberta’s Striker, and their excellent third album City of Gold.” For the record, bathtubs are a real pain in the arse to clean.

Wolf – Devil Seed Review

Wolf – Devil Seed Review

Wolf has been running at the forefront of the retro metal pack for a while now, surpassing even the vainglorious cheese meisters of Hammerfall. They’ve done so with slick, memorable song writing and a healthy respect for their elders like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate. Although they’re utterly devoid of originality or new influences, they’ve been uncannily skilled at aping and raping the past for golden metal moments of steel. 2011s Legions of Bastards had a strong Painkiller vibe, but Devil Seed slows things down and adopts a darker,more restive, simmering mood, like a filthy mob of commoners perpetually on the verge of rioting against the haughty upper crust.” Honey, the Wolf is at the door again!

Angrily Unreviewed: Split Heaven – Street Law

Angrily Unreviewed: Split Heaven – Street Law

Our first entry in the Angrily Unreviewed sweepstakes is Street Law, the third release by Mexican retro metallers Split Heaven (available on Pure Steel Records). Following in the footsteps of other 80’s style retro rockers like Steelwing, Enforcer and Wolf, Split Heaven serves up old school metal with a patina of hard rock and more than a little cheese (the album cover alone is worth fifty pounds of Velveeta). Now, before you turn up your elitist metal nose, this is some powerful, authentic stuff from a bunch of hungry youngins and it rocks harder than Thor at a Manowar concert. Songs like “Time Warrior,” “Street Law,” “Lonewolf” and especially “Night of the Jaguar” overflow with unrestrained enthusiasm and exuberance and manage to hit that 80’s style dead on. Closest in sound to Enforcer, they actually remind me a lot of Theatre of Fate-era Viper, old Obsession and Attacker, these guys play fast, loud and with real urgency. Great riffs are everywhere and while there’s that typical Maiden style here and there, they do their own thing as well. The vocals by Eligio Valenzuela are high pitched and a bit shrill but go along quite well with the vintage riffing and soloing style.

Wolf – Legions of Bastards Review

Wolf – Legions of Bastards Review

The retro metal wolf is at the door again. The lupus I refer to is Sweden’s own Wolf, the one that’s been churning out their NWOBHM meets Mercyful Fate meets power metal style since 2000 and resisting all signs of modernizing along the way. Well, color them consistent because here on Legions of Bastards, their sixth album, they remain firmly planted in the 80’s metal sound and mentality. While retro-come-lately acts like Enforcer, Bloodbound and Steelwing made their bones raping the musical carcass of the 80’s, they’re all getting seriously sloppy seconds since Wolf got there first, many years ago. Past albums have been fun, energetic nods of the old school gods like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and here on Legions, the retro hero-worship continues unabated. This is 110% shameless throwback metal with enough over-the-top guitar soloing, vocal wailing and cheesy metal cliches to make Spinal Tap consider a career in disco. It’s more fun than a barrel full of Charlie Sheens and just about as subtle. If any part of you is a forward-looking progressive who wants to stop living in the past, this is very much not the band or album for you. As for me, I thrive on old timey metal cheese so this is right in my personal (cheese) wheelhouse. Set the time machine to 1986, raise the horns and read on if you dare.

Ross the Boss – Hailstorm Review

Ross the Boss – Hailstorm Review

Is this new Manowar? No, that it ain’t. So it’s Rossowar? Closer, but still no. What we actually have before us is Hailstorm, the second album by Ross the Boss. Mr. The Boss was of course the original fret master for the legendary Manowar and he played on all their classic, seminal albums before riding off to seek glory on his own (yes AMG, there really are classic Manowar albums [I resent that statement. – AMG]). So what type of music would one of the founding fathers of sword and furry loincloth metal create in this day and age? Well, those hoping Ross assembled a merry band of Manowar imitators will be disappointed. While there are several unsubtle stylistic nods to his original band (the most unsubtle band of all time), this is way less Mano-thematic than 2008’s New Metal Leader and focuses more on early 80’s style metal and straight ahead power metal. In some ways this departure from his musical comfort zone works, in others it falls just a bit short.