Wolf – Devil Seed

By Andrew Bansal

Swedish classic metal band Wolf have enjoyed a respectable existence with a cult following for the past 18 years, and even though they remain a largely unknown entity in the United States mainly because of their lack of touring in these parts, they’ve established themselves in Europe and other territories around the world through a combination of six solid studio albums and great live shows on tours and festival appearances. Now, they are ready to release their seventh full-length ‘Devil Seed’, out August 25th in Europe and September 2nd in the US via Century Media Records, an album that will bring nothing but pure delight to the genuine metalhead, and might just be the one to architect Wolf’s global breakthrough.

The instrumental intro ‘Overture In C Shark’ with its dark and heavy soundscape sets the tone for the album to perfection, as this is the general vibe carried through the 47-minute effort. The uptempo ‘Shark Attack’ kicks things into gear as meaty riffs blend beautifully with Niklas Stålvind’s vocal delivery, specially his mid-range, and the song is excellently punctuated by an exquisite guitar solo tradeoff between Stålvind and Simon Johansson which leads to the two of them arriving at a delightful harmony. The album couldn’t have possibly had a better start and it’s no surprise to see ‘Shark Attack’ chosen as the single tune to represent it.

From there, the album unleashes itself in every manner imaginable and goes from strength to strength with one stellar composition after another, ‘Skeleton Woman’ raising the level of guitar work several notches to go with a tasty bass tone and compelling vocal melodies and truly standing out as one of the best tunes on the album, while the slower, heavier ‘Surgeons Of Lobotomy’, the laid back mid-tempo ‘My Demon’ and the highly melody-driven ‘I Am Pain’ further showcasing various facets of the quartet’s collective musical personality.

The latter half of Devil Seed doesn’t fade away whatsoever, as the extremely catchy ‘Back From The Grave’ is sure to be one that sticks in the listeners’ mind long after they’re done with the album. ‘The Dark Passenger’ revisits the grey shades and darker vibes felt on some of the earlier tracks and does exactly what its title suggests, and ‘River Everlost’ follows suit in a similar fashion but with a very epic Iron Maiden-level mid-section that lends the track its own identity. Two lush classic metal offerings ‘Frozen’ and ‘Killing Floor’ bring an end to this all-killer, no-filler effort by Wolf.

It certainly feels like Wolf’s ‘Devil Seed’ achieves a great deal more with its 11 tracks spanning 47 minutes than several other metal albums would in the same duration, and that in itself is a true testament to the band’s songwriting prowess which shines through on this album perhaps more prominently than on any of their past six studio releases. The most striking feature here is the absolutely fantastic guitar work and this aspect of Wolf’s musicianship has never been highlighted quite as brilliantly as it is this time. While the vocals, bass and drums are all excellently done and are by no means inferior, this is undoubtedly Wolf’s most guitar-oriented album till date. Besides, the quality of production keeps up to that of the music, putting it in the best light, and all in all, Wolf’s ‘Devil Seed’ has all the ingredients to serve as the prime candidate to occupy the true old-school heavy metal fan’s headspace for the rest of the year and beyond.

Rating: 9.5/10

Record Label: Century Media

Release Dates:
August 25th 2014 (Europe)
September 2nd 2014 (US)

Track Listing:
01. Overture in C Shark
02. Shark Attack
03. Skeleton Woman
04. Surgeons Of Lobotomy
05. My Demon
06. I Am Pain
07. Back From The Grave
08. The Dark Passenger
09. River Everlost
10. Frozen
11. Killing Floor

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