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Wolf - Feeding the Machine Award winner

Feeding the Machine
by Neil Cook at 30 March 2020, 2:21 PM

WOLF, the Swedish old school Heavy Metal band, have been banging heads for 25 years, since 1995.  Born of the old school from years previous, such as METAL CHURCH, JUDAS PRIEST, clearly influenced by the NWOBHM, the likes of SAXON and IRON MAIDEN.

Their sound is a very straight ahead, guitar driver, head banging, precision brand of Heavy Metal.  Not all delivered at a breakneck pace, although there is plenty of that, don’t worry, but there is melody and variation, which keeps things interesting.

Nikals Stalvind’s voice is so distinctly Metal, I cannot imagine him singing anything but this type of music.  The way he sings “Flesh” in the chorus in “Devil In The Flesh”, is sung with such relish!

Shoot To Kill” is the traditional full on punch to the face to get your attention.  Before giving us a Heavy Metal lecture on instruments of death “Guillotine” reminds us the killing machine had no distinction between the wealthy and the peasant, heads come off either way!

Dead Mans Hand” is one of the mid-paced brooding tunes.  In this case, it has a very different sound, almost, but not quite a boogie beat, one of my favorite tunes on the record.

Midnight Hour” could be on one or two JUDAS PRIEST albums from the early 80s, as could “Black Widow” whereas “Mass Confusion” builds on an almost symphonic guitar riff, which leads into a couple of very nicely different guitar breaks, and a soaring vocal display.  The sheer drama continues through “The Cold Emptiness,” into the title track “Feeding The Machine,” which has the good old traditional soundscape intro of rain and church bells, before launching into a fast paced chorus driven tune with a really interesting, weird guitar sound in its middle section.  A fairly clichéd Metal song, but I don’t care, it’s delivered fantastically.

I’ve already mentioned “Devil In The Flesh,” but it is my standout track.  I love the chugging delivery, the twin guitars, the speed and the power. Again very PRIEST or ACCEPT in the delivery.

We then have, in my opinion, a bit of a diversion in “Spoon Bender”.  It is simply plain daft, total throw away, that only classic Metal can throw up.  “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” anyone?  Look at what happened to that song.  Daft can be good you know.

The Horror duo of “The Raven” and “Black Widow” need to be listened as a pair.   And it is nice to hear a song called “The Raven” and not immediately be beaten over the head by Lovecraftian words and imagery.

Final track “A Thief Inside” is another mid placed dramatic song.  The guitar solos are superb, quite a disturbing song. Whilst the song has a longish meandering outro, it ends the album on a fairly downbeat note. It has an indefinable feeling of there should be something more.

Oh well perhaps another listen then?

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Shoot To Kill
2. Guillotine
3. Dead Mans Hand
4. Midnight Hour
5. Mass Confusion
6. The Cold Emptiness
7. feeding The Machine
8. Devil in the Flesh
9. Spoon Bender
10. The Raven
11. Black Widow
12. A Thief Inside
Niklas Stalvind - Vocals, Guitar
Simon Johansson - Guitar
Pontus Egberg - Bass
Johan Koleberg - Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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Edited 05 June 2020

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