On their second album, Wolf are upgraded in every respect. On the cover we can see the work of the great Thomas Holm, responsible for some of the masterpieces that adorn cultural monuments, such as the records of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. In the production sector there is a noticeable upgrade in vitality, although the sound is very close to that of the debut, just heavier. Again behind the console is Peter Tagtren.
Composition-wise, which is what interests us, we are in the same pattern as before: Maiden, a bit of Mercyful Fate, more Priest and speed metal. But this time around the Steve – Harris – mania is more subdued (“tributes” / “theft” parts still exist) and stands more on “Killers” and less on “Powerslave”. The MF element is more pronounced, assisted by the last track of the album, a brilliant cover of Dangerous Meeting, i.e. the first track of “Don’t Break the Oath”. It is a brilliant cover and doesn’t sound out of place in the record, which says much more than what I could ever write about Wolf’s quality.
Back to the contents of the disc, there are pieces that completely deviate from the IM/MF/speed norm, like the classic “Venom”, having a rousing hard rock air and always is a highlight in concerts. The other “hit” of the album is the speedy “Genocide”, which pays its respects to Maiden in the intro for two bars and then goes full throttle and smokes people in its Wolf way. Beyond that, my personal favorites are “A World Bewitched” and “Unholy Night” but the level remains very high everywhere. I cannot imagine a negative comment that can be said about “Demon Bell” or “Night Stalker” that opens the album (there is also a 7inch version of that one) or” I Am the Devil”. Once again, I write about all the songs because I am ashamed to leave anything out. This is, because, after speaking with the few fans of Wolf that I know, we find a remarkable difference in our favorite tracks without anyone having an issue with the favorites of th other. Nobody’s disappointed!
Here I should mention that, apart from Niklas Stalvind (at that time going by the surname Olsson) who is very influenced by Steve Harris, a special mention should be made of Daniel Bergkvist as well, who is obviously an artistic child of Nicko McBrain, which in turn is an important factor to the Iron Maiden affinity. I mention it as something absolutely positive, because firstly, Nicko McBrain is an amazing drummer and his style is really missing from the scene, and secondly, because Daniel is brilliant and hits well (and fast, as it is proper).
Awesome album, I would place it half a step above the debut release because Niklas clearly sings with more air and confidence – and the man has an amazing voice – and because it’s clear that they begin tearing away from the obsession with Maiden (the key word is “obsession”, the influence is obviously there). Indispensable to every metalhead. And two years later come the PHENOMENAL .
What I would you like to listen to live: Genocide, Venom