Saturday, February 3, 2018

Seasons of the Wolf (review by MMB)

Seasons of the Wolf
Last Act Of Defiance
26th January 2018
Iron Shield Records
The official information says that the band formed in the 1980s. I have also read that they have had many problems and this is their return after a long absence. This album is cult traditional heavy metal with progressive (perhaps 1970s) tendencies and a bit of an old horror-movie vibe. They have a veteran/underground/DIY quality to them. The songs themselves are, after repeated listens, fairly memorable. Furthermore, in Europe the album has gotten some very good receptions, judging from some of the comments that I have seen, especially from the audiences that appreciate the old heavy metal bands from the U.S. that rarely get covered in the metal press. You can see why people would love it. It’s true, honest and it’s old-school, like fans of cult metal like it.
There are several different moods or styles on the album. The singing voices differ, too. At times the singing sounds a bit like a compilation album with different bands. Some people certainly will enjoy the variety. As for me, the change in singing style has been an obstacle to enjoying it. In particular, the problem, for me, starts at the beginning. The first song is a rocking good time of street heavy metal; with a voice similar to 1970s AC/DC, late 70s Accept, and 70s/early 80s Saxon; and with music similar to the heavy metal of a young Raven, Saxon, Angelwitch, et al.
After that song, the next one is a bit more like a progressive band, with a more familiar metal style in the singing. Done well, of course, but the youthful energy of the first song “Solar Flare” is gone and now it’s more mature, maybe more melodic, more polished and even more professional, but the energy of the first song just cannot be topped, and on the rest of the album that energy just never comes back, and I would have liked to hear more in the style of the first song: the uptempo, headbanging heavy metal vibe that rocks big time with those Bon Scott/David Wayne/Udo Dirkschneider/Biff Byford down-and-dirty gritty vocals.
Other reviewers obviously had no problems accepting the different singing styles, but I did, unfortunately. It is recommended that you hear several songs from the album in order to evaluate better what to expect overall.

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