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Firewolfe – Firewolfe (Reissue) Award winner

Firewolfe
Firewolfe (Reissue)
by Fred “Cage” Bonanno at 29 August 2022, 7:43 PM

The self-titled debut album by FIREWOLFE originally released in 2011 has been reissued by Limb Music in July 2022, remastered by Bart Gabriel (CRYSTAL VIPER, SAVAGE GRACE, CIRITH UNGOL) with brand new cover artwork and two bonus tracks included on the CD featuring guest vocalists Jonathan K and Bobby “Leather Lungs” Lucas (is that a great nickname, or what). Founded by guitarists Nick Layton and Paul Kleff in 2010 in beautiful Vancouver, Washington, (no, not Canada, eh) they put together an impressive cast of crafted musicians that have all played with bands that include ANGELS OF BABYLON, HAWK, Q5, METAL CHURCH, YES, HURRICANE, ASIA, REIGN OF GLORY, that’s pretty select musical royalty. FIREWOLFE labels themselves as “unquestionably retro but anything but rip-offs musically”. The bands press release compares them to RIOT, SAVATAGE, FIFTH ANGEL and HEIR APPARENT, that sets the bar pretty high with some lofty expectations, lets see if they get us there.

A very powerful opening track “Air Attack” was written about literally being in a wartime “air attack”, complete with sound effects of airplanes, gunfire, and explosions to give an intense, heavy groove to partner with Fefoit’s pithy vocals and some monster rocking riffs. “Unholy” gives us well-oiled, throaty vocals that give a sinister sound with twin guitar barrage that crescendos with an awesome guitar solo that finishes off this edgy, rocking song. On to the title track “FireWolfe”, slow, melodic entrance that eventually gives way to searing vocals and a bouncy beat and tempo before transitioning to a meaty guitar solo, a real heavy DIO feel on this one. Like jumping into an ice-cold lake, “Wicked Words” intense, power vocals and ardent harmonies peppered with blasting guitar riffs and solo make you feel it from your head to your toes. Orchestral opening lulls you in on “Feel the Thunder” but explodes with high energy vocal and pulsating riffs combined with a contagious, sing-along chorus balanced by more dual guitar wizardry. Time to see what the guest vocalists bring to the table on the bonus tracks. Jonathan K (Q5) gives a more mysterious, deeper sound vocally but backed by the furious guitar artistry of Layton and Kleff, the band stays true on their metal course. “Victor’s Lament” starts out with some gravelly vocals from Bobby Lucas (ATTACKER) but soon escalates to……plain and simple, sounding like early QUEENSRYCHE, and that’s all I have to say about this song, because that’s one of the best comparisons I can give.

This is old school heavy metal, with powerful vocals, passionate harmonizing, heavy arsenal of blazing twin guitar prowess, all wrapped around a killer rhythm section with classic harmonious drums and solid bass. The band’s press release compared FIREWOLFE to some pretty heavy hitters in the metal musical landscape, and well, so did I, but despite all the band comparisons in this review, FIREWOLFE did create their own distinct sound and personality.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Air Attack
2. Unholy
3. FireWolfe
4. Armed Forces
5. Back from Hell
6. Wicked Words
7. Ice Wizard (Instrumental)
8. Tempter
9. M.O.D.
10. Feel the Thunder
BONUS TRACKS (Only on CD)
11. Just Let Me Rock
12. Victor’s Lament
Lineup:
David Fefoit – lead vocals
Nick Layton – guitars
Paul Kleff – guitars
Jay Schellen – drums
Zack Uldl – bass
Jonathan K – vocals on bonus track #11
Bobby Lucas – vocals on bonus track #12
Record Label: Limb Music
     


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