Released: 2012, Napalm Records
I got the first couple of Lonewolf albums quite early on in their career and to be frank I wasn’t totally impressed. A good band to be sure but during the massive global resurgence of True Metal from 1997 on, there were literally hundreds of bands to choose from in a crowded and competitive market. For whatever reason Lone Wolf (and several other French bands) were relegated to my own, ‘I’ll check them out again later’ status. It appears that my colleagues’ perceptions were similar as we haven’t reviewed a Lonewolf album on the site since 2005 and only have a single Lonewolf album review in the database. The band has been active with another pair of albums since then and they have just released ARMY OF THE DAMNED. There was some buzz about the band on the Metal-Rules chat forum recently, so I decided that the band to check out again ‘later’ would be ‘now’. I’m glad I did because Lonewolf have shown considerable improvement since I heard UNHOLY PARADISE almost ten years ago.
There have been a few changes from last album in 2009. There is a new rhythm section and the band has been picked up the Napalm Records label giving them the most exposure they have had in their long career, dating back twenty years already! ARMY OF THE DAMNED is their fifth and has a nice cover with their werewolf mascot guy breaking the chains and busting out. The production on the 11 songs is full and warm and the guitar tone is thick and crunchy.
The album starts with a bang, an eponymous song called ‘Lone Wolf’ a grinding banger that shows the band is here to recruit more soldiers into their Army Of The Damned. The title track is a huge catchy song with the giant gang vocals. The gang-vocals are all over the album, loud and proud! ‘Soulreaper’ is another ear-shredder and ‘Hellbent For Metal’ is a speedy, anthem par excellence. The band is faster and heavier than I ever remember them. This new fire in the belly makes me want to go check out the past couple of records that I missed. The band have a knack for finding the perfect marriage of speed, crunch and very infectious choruses like ‘Tally Ho’ which just begs to screamed out.
I have to mention something. When I started this review I promised myself I would not mention it, but I just can’t leave it out… Lonewolf sound like old Running Wild. There. I said it. I think every single review I have ever read about the band mentions the uncanny similarity between the two bands. Some critics even call them ‘Running Wolf’. I think there is an unwritten rule among Metal journalists stating, ‘If Thou Write A Review Of Lonewolf, Thou Must Mention Running Wild’. Everything, the drumming, the guitar tone, the riffs, it’s all so familiar, and welcome! The vocals of Jens Borner have the same tone and even the same delivery as Rock ‘N Rolf. You know what? I don’t care! It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. In fact, I love the fact that Lonewolf sound like late 80’s to mid-90’s Running Wild. Running Wild certainly don’t even sound like that anymore, so why not Lonewolf assume the throne? I’d rather have 100 Running Wild clones than one more stupid Pantera wannabe. It’s not too late to join the ARMY OF THE DAMNED by purchasing this album and pledging your allegiance today!