Here we are. Gentlemen, we have an issue: the best heavy metal album of the past decade according to this writer. My first contact with the album and the band is described elsewhere so I will not go into details about the shock I received, the infatuation turned to addiction and the spinning of Wolf’s discography.
In this album someone other than Peter Tagtren sits behind the console. Wolf travelled to the famous Fredman studios and Fredrik Nordstrom and their choice is completely justified as their sound elements that characterize them are preserved but become noticeably heavier and the guitars have acquired a delicious edge, which makes the songs have a ferocious bite.
The second thing that stands out is that Niklas’ voice sounds more mature and confident, he truly is exceptional. He was always brilliant – with the exception of the relatively tame and diffident performance of the debut – but here he has an *air* if you know what I mean. One reason for that was that during that time he took part in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar (changing his surname to Stalvind in the process), which among other things led to a greater consideration given to the lyrics, as he says. A second valuable lesson learned from that role was the value of carefully structuring the songs and the hunt for the hooks in the choruses. Not that they had a problem in that area before but it’s a fact that the word that is going through my mind when I think about the songwriting is “FLAWLESS”. If I was delirious describing Evil Star, here I sit with a vacant look, saliva dripping from my half-open mouth, I AM LOSING IT.
The Bite IS my favorite Wolf song along with Children of the Black Flame and they are both lessons of perfection in heavy metal. Such riffs, such vocal lines, such solos, such development, everything is P-E-R-F-E-C-T. The same thing exactly goes for The Dead, I Will Kill Again, At the Graveyard, songs you play to your friend and say NOW THAT’S HEAVY METAL! It goes without saying that at this point in their career if someone talks about Iron Maiden rip-offs he is not frivolous anymore, he is plain ignorant or a pretend authority in metal and he would do well to be silent, sit quietly down and LISTEN.
I’llmakethisbrief. Things are truly very simple regarding this album. It is an album that would still be a classic if it was released in 1987. That’s right, CLASSIC. Indispensable for any record collection. The end.
What I want to listen to live: Talking about the upcoming setlist, Manolis made an important observation which I wholly endorse. “If they don’t play Children of the Black Flame it’s gonna be like Metal Church not playing Metal Church, the song. Is that possible?” No, it’s not. I will add that if I don’t listen to The Bite, I will bite someone’s throat. If they want to play the whole album though, I’m in.