Seasons Of The Wolf – Anthology

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Band: Seasons Of The Wolf
Title: Anthology
Label: Iron Shield/Witches Brew
Year: 2014
Reviewed: 2019
Rating:  4 /5
Reviewer: JP

Seasons Of The Wolf are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut demo, way back in 1989!  The band was kind enough to send me some material and I felt it would be good to help provide more exposure to this excellent band.  Metal-Rules.com have been supporters of the band for many, many years and it is time we caught up.  Please feel free to check out my review of the most recent studio album, LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE which I also reviewed this month.

The words ‘cult’ and ‘underground’; get used quite a bit in Metal reviews and I would argue that the vast a majority of Metal is ‘underground’ or non-mainstream, so the word means very little.  However, the word cult has a bit more meaning and when I think it means a little deeper than just underground and a cult band has a small but loyal following.  I’ve always associated ‘Seasons of The Wolf’ right or wrong as being a cult act. Some bands for a moment had maybe an album on a record label, or hopped on a bigger name tour or maybe even shot a video…something that gives them some element of notoriety before sinking back into the underground.  I feel that Seasons Of The Wolf never really had any of that, and yet here they are, a true cult band, still going strong.

The US Classic/Power Metal band Seasons Of The Wolf was founded in the late 80’s but just never got the career traction or recognition of their contemporaries. Their self-titled debut came out in 1996 and conventional wisdom is that the grunge era was worst possible time for a traditional US Metal band to try to compete.  However, there were a few, very few, American bands who formed around that time and made a go of it, for example Kamelot and Symphony X.   By then the European Power Metal resurgence was just underway with bands like Stratovarius and Hammerfall taking off but America lagged behind by several years and Seasons Of The Wolf STILL didn’t get to the level they could have if they established a European fan-base.  However, they were not deterred and soldiered on churning out four albums.  After a seven year break they issued a double CD of rarities and demos called ANTHOLOGY and followed that up a few years later with a brand new studio album called LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE.

ANTHOLOGY is pretty cool and it takes us back to the bands roots in 1988!  The packaging is nice, it has a 12-page booklet with some commentary and lyrics, and photos. Disc One is a reissue of their debut demo Trick Trax #1 from 1988 and is now called ‘Scraps From The Master’s Table’ and Disc Two is their second demo Trick Trax #2 from 1990, now titled ‘The Black And Silver’.   It is nice to have these cassette-only releases available on CD.

The quality is pretty high in terms of production value, in fact I would even call these independent albums rather than demos.  By and large the songs are mid-paced classic US metal with a nice 70’s vibe.  The tunes are weighty, not too fast, not too frantic or too sweetly melodic like some of the ’88 hair metal stuff that was around back then. Everything surges along again, never getting too fast and I would have liked a bit more speed to increase the energy levels at times.  Disc One ends with a bit of a quirky tune called ‘dlroW ehT tsniagA’ (Against The World spelled backwards) which is a longer version of the song ‘Against The World’ (track 6) but just played backwards.  Weird!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before.  Backwards noises and messages yes, entire songs, no.  It also features a mini-story, sound effects, narration, it is quite the effective creepy song in the end.  The band is not afraid to wrote long songs, many of them in the seven minute range and Disc Two has a monster 13-minute cut called “Computer Automated Death’.

Seasons Of The Wolf as previously mentioned are pretty cult and to have these two demos reissued may only appeal to the truest fans of the band, however they also serve a dual purpose as a great introduction to the band.

 


Disc One: 1988-1989

Scraps From The Master’s Table

1. Crash Landing
2. Centuries of Pain
3. Hells Fire & Brimstone
4. October
5. Death Wish
6. Nocturnal Revelation No. 1
7. Against the World
8. Last Goodbyes
9. dlroW ehT tsniagA

Disc Two:1990/1991

The Black And Silver

1. The Blood Tree
2.Beyond the Wall
3. Far from the Light
4. Master Plan
5. Carry On
6. Computer Automated Death (C.A.D.)
7. Makes No Difference
8. Call of the Wild
9. The Coven