Friday, December 9, 2011

WOLFSBANE: "Wolfsbane Save The World"

Rating: 8/10

Label: Self Released 2011

Review by Alan Holloway

If we’re honest, British metal hopefuls Wolfsbane never really set the World on fire, or even singed much of it, but were still admired for their full on attitude and cheeky aggression often served with tongues wedged firmly in cheeks. The music was pretty good, too, and that has helped them stay lodged firmly in many people’s memories since their last, self titled release way back in 1994.

As we all know, frontman and head Howling Mad Shithead Blaze Bayley jumped ship to have a good bash at superstardom with Iron Maiden, a move that unfortunately showed him to be a square peg in a Bruce Dickinson shaped hole. It seems that the rest of the band has finally forgiven him, as the optimistically titled “Wolfsbane Save The World” features Bayley along with original band members Jase Edwards, Jeff Hateley and Steve ‘Danger’ Ellett.

Seventeen years is a long time, and it’s fair to say that Wolfsbane have learned a few things, something that is very apparent from the sheer quality of the songwriting on the album. Whilst Blaze has been busy being as metal as a Cyberman’s cock with his own band, the Wolfsabane material isn’t half as intense, with more melody being let in as well as a hefty dose of variety. Not to say that this isn’t a metal album, cos it is, but there’s a lightness of touch that allows the songs to breath and not be swamped by fist punching and goat sacrificing. Almost a metal version of Terrorvision, Wolfsbane are the good time that wanted to be had by all.

There’s certainly several salutary songs secreted here (try saying that when you’re pissed), and in “Starlight” there’s even a ball breaking belligerent ballad. There’s your typically straightforward rockers with catchy hooks, like “Smoke & Red Light”, “Who Are You Now” or “Teacher”. Let’s be honest - Wolfsbane are at their best when they go at it full tilt, and they don’t disappoint on the new disc, which has plenty of this sort of thing. Other slower tracks go over well, although “Child Of The Sun” pops up near the end and proves to be the only track that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. “The Illusion Of Love” mixes balladry with full tilt melodic metaliciousness, though, and should be a great draw live.

The thing is, if you were ever a Wolfsbane fan you are going to love “Wolfsbane Save The World” as it’s like they never went away but got even better. Blaze sounds very good, although his voice is still instantly recognisable, and the band are tight as you like. The perfect antidote to arty modern European metal with pretty pictures on the cover, it’s great to see the HMS’s back at last. All together now… AWOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!


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