Much has changed throughout MindOverMetal.org in the past year—particularly in terms of our writing, and the sheer volume of promotional albums received. You’ve probably seen or heard me yakking about this before, but the point being this: I never seem to know when inspiration will hit anymore. Thus, here I am slinking into mid-October, predictably with wolves on my mind from the forthcoming holiday. So we’ve got ourselves a theme here, folks! A handful of disparate bands from different labels and scattered release dates and… hell, let’s move this along, yeah?
First up, Blackwolfgoat. This is the sophomore set from the solo instrumental project by Darryl Shepard, also of Milligram, Slapshot, and Hackman. I’m not gonna pretend to know any of those bands, but if any are professed “progressive drone” like we hear on this album, I might be into it. While understandable that the title track be the longest and arguably most complex on Dronolith, by the time you get to this final stretch, the previous half hour of looped cacophony will have likely worn you down to the nub. NOT to bag on this dude, because I was impressed by songs like the subtly dense “Ruane” or the purposeful, intriguing opener “Building Buildings” (a turn of phrase that my sister and I always thought funny when we were kids). The Obelisk actually signed these guys to The Maple Forum, their official label, so they must believe in the guy. Let Blackwolfgoat out to play sometime—he feels surprisingly friendly. 4/5
Death Wolf looks like it should be more formidable, based on the cover art alone, and fuck yes it is! I know some names this time around, too, as Morgan Håkansson has helmed Marduk for about twenty infernal years. He slings the four-string with these dudes, who used to go by the saucy moniker Devils Whorehouse (no apostrophe there, so I assume 100% devil-whores). They even flirted with songs that had “wolf” in the title before the major name change, but from all I’ve heard, there is no difference in sound. If you’re into mid-paced, head-nodding Danzig-ism, only more… I dunno… Swedish, then look no further. 3/5
Ah, here we go—the band that prompted me to do this write-up: Lord Volture, with their second album Never Cry Wolf. The first thing I obscurely conjure up is Quest of the Delta Knights vs. MST3K, because there is a Lord Vultare in the story. I’m not sure if they’re necessarily connected, but David Warner—the guy who plays Vultare in QotDK—was also the dad in The Company of Wolves. So there, more wolf references; music now? Oh my fucking skull, I shouldn’t have shifted my concentration. Steel should not come this polished at this late in the night with this much whiskey consumed. But no, my gig calls—the approaching full moon isn’t helping either. Ugh, so this is the next serving after Pestilence, Netherlands? Listen, I tried to get past whatever-the-balls they were going for on the just-learned-Photoshop cover art, but every time Lord Volture starts to hook me (like the first couple minutes of “Celestial Bodies Fall”) something always arrives to squelch the momentum. Like, I get that this is Iced Earth-style power thrash, but it just doesn’t cross that critical line of memorability apart fron occasional standouts like “Necro Nation”, and even that is tenuous. Plus, there’s ridiculous semi-skits and all… I’m just… eh, fuck it, nothing is unified here. Sure, I may be tired for bed, but I can tell my yawns apart. 2/5