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LONEWOLF The Heathen Dawn

By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Monday, August 8, 2016 @ 1:33 PM


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LONEWOLF
Heathen Dawn

Massacre Records




It's rather unusual for me to do a review of a band that I don't have at least a passing knowledge of their history, so reviewing the latest from France's LONEWOLF is a step somewhat out of the old comfort zone. Still, the Metal calls and I must answer.

The only LONEWOLF in my collection was the Hellenic Warriors 7" that came out in 2004, so let's see what LONEWOLF 12 years later is all about.

"Titelnummer 1" opens things off, an epic but short instrumental that could pass for BLIND GUARDIAN all day long. "Wolfsblut" quickly follows and it's already evident that LONEWOLF has indeed gone to a much more grandiose scope since I last heard them. If you're a fan of the modern , not the amazing Speed Metal version, then you should have an idea of what LW sound like.

"Demon's Fire" is an very uptempo song that reminds me of a speedy GRAVE DIGGER. In fact, guitarist & vocalist Jens Börner sounds a bit like GRAVE DIGGER's Chris Boltendahl or UDO, except with a little less melody, if you can believe that. "Keeper Of The Underworld" has a Celtic vibe to it, along with the galloping riff and bombastic chorus.

"When The Angels Fall" sees Jens struggle to hit the higher register that his melody is following, so naturally the song suffers a bit because of it. The band themselves are tight, with drummer Bubu Brunner, bassist Rikki Mannhard and guitarist Michael Hellström ably holding down the fort in fine fashion. "Until The End" is a mid-tempo stomper with that BG harmony guitar, and a great solo that sounds like classic Dave Murray from IRON MAIDEN fame.

"Rise To Victory" sees the band speeding off to headbanging glory, bringing U.D.O. to mind. The more uptempo music lends itself to Jens voice better methinks. "Heathen Dawn" steers back to the slow, epic nature of the band. The production is crisp, thanx to Charles Greywolf (POWERWOLF) who mixed & mastered this at Studio Greywolf in Holz Germany.

"Into The Blizzard" is back to a faster pace with tempo changes galore. Some of the guitar picking reminds me of UNLEASHED, with a Gypsy sounding ending to boot. "The Birth Of A Nation" will no doubt have the masses shouting "Fight" and "Rise" thru the chorus with fists in the air. A double-bass banger with some tasty lead work as well.

"Song For The Fallen" is the longest track at over 6 minutes and brings ACCEPT to mind, which is never a bad thing. "I Choose The Darkness" again sees Jens attempting to hit notes a touch higher on his register, with mixed results. The chorus itself will stick with you long after the song is gone. "Mother Faith" is the bonus track and album ender, and much like the beginning has that unforgettable BG guitar harmony. A fine slice of classic Speed Metal to be sure.

While I'm not a somewhat typical reviewer that will nitpick everything to death, I will "calls 'em as I sees 'em", and I must say the music on The Heathen Dawn is stellar True Metal. If I can hear some of the Masters of the craft in your music, you must be doing something right. But...with the width & scope of the music they're trying to achieve, the vocals tend to hold things back a bit. While I do understand that everyone can't have a 'Ripper' Owens or Joacim Cans, my advice would be keep the vocals more in your wheelhouse. I think it would be more beneficial in the long run. Play to your strengths, like Chris & UDO do, since the vocals follow closely in their footsteps.

4.2 Out Of 5.0 Skulls

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