Lonewolf – Cult of Steel
Release Date: October 24, 2014
French heavy metal band Lonewolf has been cranking out hard and heavy speed metal since the nineties, with a small break here and there. These guys are no stranger to the heavy metal world, inspired by some of the greatest, iconic groups out there like Running Wild and Grave Digger; their classic love definitely comes through in their music. These four men have been cranking out a new album every year since 2012, with the third and most recent of the new decade being Cult of Steel. These guys have some solid releases under their belt but it seems the past few years have been lackluster for the band and the “more-of-the-same” style just isn’t quite cutting it.
There are two things I absolutely love in my metal: great atmosphere and songs about wolves. So when the album kicked off with “The Cult of Steel” intro track, within seconds I thought to myself that this was going to be the album to win me over again. It has got great atmospheric and choral touches, and when the drums and guitar pick up into the main melody, my heart rate races. The vocals are harsh, yet distinguishable, and the drum and bass provide a solid foundation for a great metal tune. The speed metal guitar lead is flawless and enthralling, and all in all this is a tight, driving style that really works for the band. This leads me to my second most loved aspect of metal: “Werewolf Rebellion” starts with a killer chant and guitar riff that is impossible to sit still through. This song as a whole is another great example of this speed/heavy metal style that Lonewolf refuses to let die. While this is great in pieces, the repetition of it throughout the album gets a little dull.
The next few tracks are more of the same, and nothing really sticks out until “Funeral Pyre” which drops the tempo briefly. The atmospheric elements return and really add a fantastic dark element to the driving music. Those elements are gone as quickly as they returned however, and yet again we are left with the same-old-same. It is a great song, and I love the chorus, but all in all it is nothing more than expected, and the same goes for the rest of the record.
“Mysterium Fidei” is another slower moment in the release, with acoustic guitar kicking it off, but it quickly transitions to drums and distortion. Aside from some great guitar solos, the vocal arrangements are slightly awkward and don’t seem to fit with the arrangements beneath them. The music makes this song absolutely amazing, but would have felt more together as an instrumental.
This is one of those albums that has its shining moments, mostly in the tight musical arrangements and killer guitar solos. (I can’t really stress the talent of Alex Hilbert enough here as a speed metal shredder.) Outside of that however, it is exactly what was expected in a Lonewolf release. One of those that makes my stereo from time to time, and is enjoyable, but not very memorable.