Wolf - The black flame 4/5

Reviewed: 11-24-06


1. I will kill again
2. At the graveyard
3. Black magic
4. The bite
5. Make friends with your nightmares
6. Demon
7. The dead
8. Sieze the night
9. Steelwinged savage reaper
10. Children of the black flame

Welcome to purest, sharpest, dark melodic metal from Sweden, as this band’s 4th full-length CD delivers every bit of promise and performance you’d expect from their prior outings. If you haven’t heard the band before, the closest (relatively) contemporary example I can think of is Pegazus’ excellent 'Headless horseman' CD, with perhaps a touch more "evil" in the tone, and generally speaking, this is also Judas Priest circa 'Defenders of the faith' and 'Painkiller'. (I.e., their best and most powerful). This is black leather and spikes, all the way, with an exceptional level of quality. I love the piercing ascendant vocals, in the higher range, from Niklas Stålvind who also is one of the 2 guitarists. Surprisingly, he has the more polished, powerful vocals that you tend to hear less from someone who has instrumental duties as well, and he delivers a tremendous collection of memorable songs and very understandable lyrics.

The guitar tone is perfect, sharp, crisp, cutting, yet exceptionally clear, and Johannes Losbäck and Niklas deliver with tight, melodic, and thoroughly entertaining riffs and leads. The drums from Tobias Kellgren are powerful, punching through your speakers, and the bass from Mikael Goding provides the backing thunder. It’s just as you would want any heavy metal CD to be produced and performed.

Any shortcomings? Well, it doesn’t reach the ultimate, highest level of inspirational metal, nor does it offer anything exceptionally new or original. But that aside, this somehow fulfills every desire you have in your heart for the purest heavy metal, but at the same time, definitely stays more serious and powerful than some of the ubiquitous true metal these days. In sports terms, this is a perfectly drawn up game plan that is also executed to a "T". Not to mention the fact that those who love "pure" heavy metal of the 80s but are tired of the typical, more happy European metal sound, are likely to find this a refreshing slice in the arm.




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