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Review: Wolf - The Black Flame
The Black Flame

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 47:33
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: March 6, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating
The Black Flame

Rated 4.37/5 (87.41%) (27 Votes)

Wolf from Sweden is definitely a point of interest in the way that their music in unabashedly old school in every sense of the word. I mean, it's seriously like they jumped on a portal in 1986 and rode right into the modern day and started recording music. You won't find any growling, progressive elements or pinch harmonics here, because those things just are not cool enough for this band, who only play old school Heavy Metal in the most old school Heavy Metal-ish way possible, and we fucking love it, man. This is The Black Flame, and while it might not be perfect, rarely has the modern music world seen such a devout and heartfelt tribute to the old days.

Wolf have created a very fun album here. It's kind of like listening to a B horror movie in musical form, with cheesy lyrics and vocals that so shamelessly recall King Diamond, and guitars that lie pretty much in the same vicinity - loud, screaming, twisted slabs of darkened Metal paying homage to Don't Break the Oath with a little bit of Piece of Mind on the side. Or rather, it's more like an aural form of Halloween night, complete with kids and costumes and grinning Jack O' Lanterns and the whole deal. Everything here is so over the top and silly, and yet it all rules, without exception. Like when you hear the vocalist belt out lyrical gems like, "Restless roaming screaming in the dark/Twilight maniac hunting the night away/Blood-thirst predator, bloodline of Lucifer/Red-eyed raging sadistic terrier!" Can it get any cooler than that? And this band isn't trying to be ironic or funny at all, that's really what they want to sing about. It's an immortal formula; just take some kinetic, Earth-shaking riffs, mix them with high pitched, aggressive vocals, add in some so-cheesy-they're-awesome bloody horror movie lyrics, and you've got yourself a Heavy Metal certified slab of gold.

With that in mind, though, what about the songs here? Well, "I Will Kill Again" kicks things off with a metal-barbed punch in the mouth, and it's heavy, hooky and catchy, but then "At the Graveyards" starts up, and it's all of those things and more. Niklas Stålvind really has a great voice for this kind of thing, with the strange rhythmic patterns of the vocal lines sounding absolutely delightful. Some people won't like it because it sounds a bit unprofessional, but me, I say it enhances the performance. "Black Magic," "The Bite," "Demon," "The Dead," the high-speed "Steelwinged Savage Reaper" (what a cool title!), and especially the epic "Children of the Black Flame" are all killer songs with hooks and driving conviction for the ages. I could go into more detail on those, but really, it would just be redundant: they all have the killer riffs and electrically charged melodies we expect from these guys, and they are all worth replaying many times over. And I think that's well worth calling this one a modern metal classic, right up there with Rob Rock, Crystal Viper, Slough Feg and the rest. Get this one if you have even a metal bone in your body, whelp!

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