Released: 2011, Massacre
Back in the mid-90’s there was a little burst of ‘True Metal’ very likely developed in a backlash response to alternative, grunge, nu-Metal and inspired what Manowar was doing at the time. Wizard along with Hammerfall, Primal Fear and a handful of others were truly pioneers in this exciting and welcome genre of Metal.
Wizard don’t change styles much on this record thankfully, because I am a sucker for their pounding Germanic, anthemic steel. One of the reasons they haven’t changed much is that the line-up has stayed pretty much stable. Nothing beats friends dedicated to the cause playing together and having fun. I can’t name too many Metal bands from the late 80’s (they were formed in 1989) that have all the original members.
It’s hard to believe that OF WARIWULFS AND BLUOTVARWES is already Wizard’s 9th album. It seems like only yesterday I bought SON OF DARKNESS desperately searching for something pure and true to counter-act the Pantera-esque crap saturating the Metal scene in 1995. They really are one of the earliest bands playing this style.
Continuing on with their tradition of in-depth stories, Wizard has presented the awkwardly titled, OF WARIWULFS AND BLUTOVARWES, as a conceptual piece about, you guessed it, werewolves. It’s a nice change from Norse mythology I suppose. Apparently the story-line is based on some horror novels but I haven’t read them so I can’t comment on the purity of the adaptation of the lyrics. The lyrics sound pretty damn Metal to me regardless.
OF WARIWULVES is an example of straight-ahead Metal. Lots of marching beats with raging gang-vocals, and big sing-along choruses are the back-bone of this album. There is enough melody to satisfy as well, tracks like ‘Fair Maiden Mine; being a standout with just a hint of keyboard floating underneath. Naturally the album does kick-off with a Manowar inspired pair of head-punching fast tracks that will have you head-banging in no time flat. Sven still sings with passion and power sounding at times like Bothendahl or later-era Adams, gruff and combat ready. Good crunchy riffs anchor all the songs and the solos are executed with flair with descending into mindless shred. ‘Heart Eater’ is an excellent stand-out mid-tempo track that is catchy as hell.
Everyone has a favourite band in this ‘True Metal’ style, maybe your particular favorite is Sacred Steel, or perhaps Majesty but certainly Wizard should rank up there and the new album is another stellar example of how Metal should be.