Seasons Of The Wolf – Last Act Of Defiance

Spread the metal:

Band: Seasons Of The Wolf
Title: Last Act Of Defiance
Label: Iron Shield
Year: 2018
Reviewed: 2019
Rating:  4/5
Reviewer: JP

 

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.
This month I’m reviewing a couple recent SOTW releases. Metal-Rules.com has always supported this band for the last 20 years, although it has been a while  and it is time we caught up with them.  They were kind enough to send me a couple of CD’s to check out.

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.

OK, this album has a picture of werewolf running through an apocalyptic wasteland, carrying a Flying V guitar while giving the middle finger to a giant, fire-breathing three-headed dragon that is eating a train while the passengers plummet to their doom into a fiery abyss.  That is probably the coolest thing I have seen in a long time!  I think I want to give LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE a five out of five rating, just based on the cover art alone.

The first thing that struck me was an increased use of keyboards.  They are not overwhelming, just more prominent, especially the cool solo in the opening cut, ‘Solar Flare’.  The band takes an interesting move with track two being a gentle acoustic instrumental cut called ‘Desert Night Sky’.  I say this is interesting because many, many bands start with an instrumental intro of some sort then a one-two-three punch of faster songs. It’s like Seasons of The Wolf, shot out of the age and then jammed on the brakes!  It is still a very nice song.  The album goes from high to high and overall the album has an increased intensity that we haven’t heard from the band in a while. In fact it has been over 10 years since the last album although the line-up is pretty much the same.  Lyrically, the track ‘No More Room In Hell’ gives us a slightly different slant than the classic zombie theme of many other songs of the same name. The title track has vocalist Wes Waddell spitting some real venom!

This is probably the heaviest and fastest Album by the band and I’m delighted, they have added that little bit of fire and intensity while retaining their interesting song-writing style.  I don’t want to call it a ‘comeback’ because Seasons Of The Wolf never really went away, but LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE could be the best opportunity in a while to gain some new fans.

 


Videos:


Track Listing

1. Solar Flare
2. Desert Night Sky
3. Take Us to the Stars
4. Be Careful What You Wish
5. Centuries of Pain
6. Drifter
7. Fools Gold
8. Another Day
9. Dark Stratosphere
10. No More Room in Hell
11. Last Act of Defiance

Line up:

Mark Empire-Drums
Bill Bios-Bass
Wayne Hoefler-Drums
Barry D. “Skully” Waddell-Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Dennis Ristow-Keyboards,
Wes Edward Waddell-Vocals