They Say :- Welcome to “Legions Of Bastards”, WOLF’s 6th album. The follow-up to 2009’s Swedish Grammy nominated album “Ravenous” was produced by Pelle Saether at Studio Underground in Vasterås, Sweden. It gets you right from the start with the furious opener “Vicious Companions” followed by this year’s official head banging anthem “Skull Crusher”. It’s Niklas Stålvind’s razor sharp vocals that burns the lyrics into your forehead like Glen Benton’s inverted cross. Johannes Axeman then kicks in for a classic solo that melts your face off. Stålvind and Axeman’s twin-lead double penetration is backed up by the pounding rhythm section of Anders Modd (bass) and Richard Holmgren (drums) who already proved to be the right team on the last album.
Is there anything new to expect on “Legions Of Bastards”? Yes, new great songs. Anything else? Well, not really, but do you want Motörhead to change their style? Fuck, no! So this is still WOLF as we love it, the band didn’t even change their cover artist. It’s still Thomas Holm, the man who did the legendary Mercyful Fate “Melissa” and “Don’t Break The Oath” covers.
We Say :- Look at that. Look at it! I usually aim for around 500 words a review but they say a picture can speak a thousand words so already we’re onto a winner. Just look at it, look at them all ‘grrr!’ and “rarrr” and without me typing a single letter more Wolf have perfectly encapsulated the entire album, and some may say their entire back catalogue, in one single shot.
What the current album, Legions Of Bastards, from Swedish retro metallers Wolf offers the listener is a choice of 11 metal anthems of varying degrees. We have heavy, very, really and my personal favourite fist-pumping metal (as demonstrated in the picture). It’s the type of album that works equally well today as it would in say 1986, reason being it is timeless riff-driven traditional heavy metal with screeching vocals, a solid no frills back bone rhythm section and some mighty fine fretboard acrobatics. Sure, I like to be challenged with new innovations in music but equally sometimes I just want to make a fist and go ‘Grrr” just like these guys. And just like Mogwai will take you on musical journey with their mesmerising usage of sonics, Wolf will too but by clocking you over the head with Flying V and bundling you in the boot of a car with a bag full of riffs. It’s not subtle but it’s just as effective. Well…
So what’s not to like? It has everything I’d want in a pure heavy metal album.. Legions sets off confidently, ‘Vicious Companions’ gallops along before planting a foot on your speakers and adopting standard head banging position. Wolf continues with this no nonsense assault of classic choppy riffs and Halford esque vocals for the remainder of the album. Essentially every track hits the mark in terms of being raucous blasts of metal but only a few stand out as absolute classics. ‘Skull Crusher’ rises above its album brethren with the instantly memorable ‘more Judas Priest than Judas Priest’ riff. And if there is a weakness in the album, this track highlights it. The remaining ten tracks whilst being huge slabs of metal are consistent in quality just don’t quite have that extra oomph required.
So all in all it’s a good album, thoroughly enjoyable throughout. If you like metal you can’t fail to like Legions Of Bastards, you can’t fail to like Wolf. I just wished I liked it more than I did. So in typical clichéd fashion, for all their huffing and puffing, I wish that Wolf had blown my little house down.