|Review: Seasons of the Wolf - Seasons Of The Wolf|
|Seasons Of The Wolf|
Label: Earth Mother Music
Year released: 1996
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: May 30, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Seasons Of The Wolf
Well well well. I have here in my grubby hands the entire SOTW discography, and now you’re going to get it too. So: we will start at the beginning with this, the first disc from this rather odd Florida band released waaaaay back in the Metal Dark Ages – 1996.
Now, Seasons of the Wolf are a weird band, and this is a weird disc. Some have compared their sound to Metal Church or early Savatage, others have dubbed them "New Age Metal" for their use of keys and trippy instrumental passages. Really, to get a grip on SOTW sound you have to go farther back than that. This band isn’t what is usually called ‘old-school’, this is way beyond old school. The sound of SOTW is actually rooted in such classic proto-metal bands as Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, and I even hear the occasional touch of Deep Purple. Yes, they use keyboards, but this is very rootsy, guitar-driven music that’s all about the riff. No gimmicks, no trends, no neoclassical bullshit, just bare-knuckles guitar metal that rocks. Now that makes SOTW sound like a stoner-band like Monster Magnet, but in fact they have more in common with off the wall bands like Voivod or the even more bizarre Weird Lord Slough Feg. These guys do things their own way, and have been for the last ten damned years.
Vocally is where all the hints of Savatage or David Wayne turn up, as Wes Waddell has a high, snarly voice quite reminiscent of Jon Oliva. His vocals take a little getting used to, but after a few listens you won’t be able to imagine anyone else singing with this band. The music here is alternately doomy, groovy, or just plain rockin’. There’s a lot of variety here, but the quality is very consistent throughout.
The CD looks like a black-metal album with the gray color scheme and the spiky logo, and the booklet is pretty minimal, but this was the bands first indie release, so I suppose we should be glad there was a booklet at all. The production is actually quite good, if a little soft in comparison to modern jobs.
Bands like this don’t come along every day, and SOTW are almost a national treasure. This is not as cool as their later albums, but more than worth the effort to find it. If you get this and don’t like it, play it again, trust me.
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Review: Lost in Hell (reviewed by MetalMike)
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Review: Once In A Blue Moon (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Guitarist "Skully" on June 18, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with guitarist Barry D. "Skully" Waddell on January 28, 2018 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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