This was the first time I was expecting for a new album by Wolf. And… I was not really blown away. I was very stoked and eager to write a triumphant review from my new post at Metal Hammer, sadly it was not to be. For the first time Wolf sound to me a bit tame and without their usual doses of hyper-inspiration. Going through the motions. Very decent but I say that with a touch of complaint.
There are three masterpieces here that more than justify looking into the album: Skull Crusher opens the album, has a video, straight heavy metal, a gem with a chorus you won’t soon forget. Tales from the Crypt, which I worship (so Wolf) and K-141 Kursk, which refers to the tragic Russian submarine of the same name, which in 2000 was lost, along with 118 souls, at the abyss of the Barents Sea. It closes the album in a very special way, oozing atmosphere and the finale with the lyrics “dive… into the void” ranks among the finest moments of Wolf, I’ve got chills just remembering it, I shit you not.
The fact that I hand-pick three songs by all means does not mean this is a 3-song album, the rest of the songs are really just fine (Full Moon Possession or Vicious Companions are good examples), it’s just that in an extensive, roughly similar in style discography, with so many brilliant songs, it’s to be expected that they may be skipped. That is my personal opinion, as objectively as I can, I was listening to the entire album and fairly enjoyed it at the time but today, 3 years later, I keep returning for the 3 aforementioned epics 90% of the time.
Whatever the case, Niklas himself also thinks that they were not exactly spectacular on this one because of the bad situations inside the band at the time (which would eventually lead to the not-so amicable departure of mustachioed mr. Axeman, he can only be heard on 4 solos in this album and nothing else), personal problems and a general bad mood.
Still, if this is what your “bad” album sounds like, I’d say that you’re doing OK!
Wolf Special: The Month of the Wolf
Wolf Special: I. Wolf – Wolf (1999)
Wolf Special: II. Wolf – Black Wings (2002)
Wolf Special: IIΙ. Evil Star (2004)
Wolf Special: IV. The Black Flame (2006)
Wolf Special: V. Ravenous (2009)