Friday, January 2, 2015

Will You Join the Cult of Steel?: A Review of Lonewolf's Cult of Steel album

Now I'm not saying that I know everything or every band out there in the land of rock and metal but what I am saying is that if a band has beginnings tracing back to 1992 and has issued seven albums to date, yet I've not ever heard of them until now may not a winning endorsement.  Behold Lonewolf hailing from Grenoble, France.  They began playing heavy metal back in 1992, developed a following and put out several demo recordings.  They also recorded a full length album that never
saw the light of day, therefore being referred to as "The Lost Album".  But after four years of playing together a bad deal with a French record label left a sour taste and they disbanded in 1996.  Another four years later and they were once again reunited and playing together.  The demo recording March Into the Arena served as their debut album in 2002, with 2004's Unholy Paradise, 2008's Made in Hell, 2009's The Dark Crusade, 2012's Army Of the Damned and 2013's The Fourth and Final Horseman all following suit.  Lonewolf has the distinction of being the first French band ever to play in Greece and have toured Europe with bands such as Dragonsfire, Iron Fate, Powerwolf, Stormwarrior and Mystic Prophecy as well as playing several festivals.  Now they serve up their seventh effort, Cult of Steel, set for release January 20, 2015 in North America (already issued to European markets in October 2014).

One thing that I, personally, love is album cover artwork, it's an integral part of the album experience for me, and Lonewolf's Cult of Steel sure has that in its corner!  A muscular, devilish looking kind of werewolf is depicted on a pedestal of stone crouched or hunched down over a sword presumably formed from the molten "Fires of Hell" raging in the background.

The title track, "Cult of Steel", begins softly, building up to the explosion that erupts for more than five and a half minutes of some blistering power metal.  Next up is "Hordes of the Night" ripping off at breakneck speed with the gruff gravelly vocals of Jens Borner (vocals/rhythm guitar) and a full helping of some delicious and plentiful guitar soloing help this cut to shine.  Some opening chants lead off "Werewolf Rebellion" which follows right along in sync with the first two, probably a step down and a just little less catchy.  The double bass runs rampant on "Blood of the Heretic" peppered with solos, but not much different from what we've already heard from Cult of Steel.  "Hell's Legacy" offers a bit more with a more melodic chorus for a definite standout composition but basically by the time we get through "Funerals Pyre" I'm starting to get a little bored.  "Force to Fight" and "Open Fire" follow the same formula and by the time "Mysterium Fedei" comes along I've basically had enough.  "Grey Wolves" served as the end of my listening tenure in pretty much every spin so far, never hearing the digipak bonus tracks of "Made In Hell '14" and "Children of the Unlight '14", the last two inclusions.
For me this album started out strong but quickly lost momentum, maybe it just needs a longer gestation period for me to digest?  I'm not ready to give up on Lonewolf's Cult of Steel just yet.

The Meister

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(Lonewolf Website) (Lonewolf Facebook)

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