|Review: Wolfpakk - Wolves Reign|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2017
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: May 13, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)
Wolfpakk is an ambitious project idealized by Mark Sweeney (ex-Crystal Ball) and Michael Voss (Mad Max, ex-Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock), and Wolves Reign is their fourth studio album in the span of 7 years. I say ambitious because these guys are both vocalists and still had the idea of displaying guest vocalists on each of their songs, making every album a singer's paradise. This time around, Voss and Sweeney recruited the overwhelming number of 26 musicians (yes, TWENTY-SIX, it's not a typo) to join them in yet another journey to the curious and ever-fun land of Melodic Heavy Metal with pinches of Hard Rock and AOR.
"Falling" opens the effort with a burst, in a very AOR-like manner. Fans of Kiske/Somerville, Voodoo Circle and such will love the tune and its unpretentious riffs and changes of pace. The two best songs follow and raise the bar very high: "Run All Night" sees a Michael Vescera (ex-Loudness, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) soaring high with his unique roars. The double-pedal fits the choir perfectly while the Heavy/Power atmosphere combines with Vescera, Voss and Sweeney's voices to form a pretty badass tune, while "Blood Brothers" serves as the primitive and raw tune, with a very special participation by Saxon legend Byff Byford. The bass lines in this particular song are more evident and loud, providing a good amount of groove and extra spice to the experience, courtesy of Marc Lynn (Gotthard).
Other tracks such as "Wolves Reign" and "I'm Onto You" fill the belly of the Hard Rock enthusiasts, with the first one being a slow-tempo number surgically inserted to calm the nerves, while the second being close to what Shakra is used to do in the riff department with a more direct punch and that "in your face" attitude.
Songs like "No Remorse" could easily be featured in an Avantasia album, so much so that Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia, ex-At Vance) makes his contribution in the catchy and sugary chorus. It's a decent track, but it actually doesn't fit the whole idea of the album quite well. And "Scream of the Hawk" features another legend in the pack: Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper) lends his lungs to the wolves, but actually does not sound as good as he normally would. His voice sounds far away and somewhat flat, which I blame on the production and mixing processes, but the song is good nevertheless.
All in all, Wolves Reign is a good and heterogeneous Melodic Metal album. It's not an over-intelligent, multilayered magnum opus, but I guess that was not Sweeney and Voss's goal to begin with. It's fun, catchy and will provide a good amount of singalong moments in your car or your stereo, but it will most definitely not make you shit your pants with its grandiosity.
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