Wolf - Black wings 3.5/5

Reviewed: 4-27-04


1. Night stalker
2. Demon bell
3. I am the devil
4. Venom
5. A world bewitched
6. The curse
7. Unholy night
8. Genocide
9. A dangerous meeting

Although a strong CD, I'm not quite as drawn to this as others are that I know. Kind of interesting, on paper, this is probably the CD of this quartet I'd be most likely to love. The Maiden comparison/influences in the band's sound and guitar work are accurate, but sometimes there are real differences and subtleties not observed that make a big difference between a band like this and Maiden themselves, while bands like Lethal on their best work are much better able to capture the real glory of a Queensryche that influenced them.

The first song, "Night stalker" (I'm just hoping all these bands like Pegazus and Bewitched (unlikely) are praising the awesome Intellivison game, instead of Richard Ramirez) is strong and fast, with a sound instrumentally that really brings me back to Maiden's 'Killers' CD. But the vocalist, while probably having some Bruce Dickinson influences and comparisons, also has at least an equal dose of a more high-pitched, and well, whiny singer, like Attacker's 'Battle at Helm's deep' vocals man (Bob Mitchell), and while there are much worse things, it's still not as effective as someone who really hits the right range. And I guess at a certain point influences start to sound like copying, as the song "Demon bell" starts off with a riff almost identical to Maiden's "Be quick or be dead". While the band covers Mercyful Fate's "A dangerous meeting", songs like "Unholy night" sound very similar in their intro to that song as well. The first time I heard it and I knew the cover was coming, I kept hearing it in other songs!

In addition to somewhat unoriginal moments, I guess another property that detracts for me just a bit in this CD is that it has a bit too much homogeneity, you just hear very similar vocal lines, tempos, keys, and, while I can appreciate the Maiden worship, much like with the band Skullview, it keeps me from engaging as fully, it's just a bit "over the top", and not the "Worship us we are Manowar" way that I usually mean, but a feeling in the music I find hard to describe. Well, I really shouldn't be bashing it, I do like this CD... On the good side, this is nothing but the purest of metal sound, the melodic, dueling guitar work is impressive and highly enjoyable, and the band has a catchy, fast, aggressive style you can never go too far wrong from.




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