Wervolf – Canadian Viking Assault

Strip away the blast beats and the tremolo riffing and you have a heavy/viking metal album, not a black metal release, and a pretty damned good one at that. Call it first wave. This isn’t very BM apart from the most obvious aesthetics though, and most of the melodies and song structures owe a great deal more to Maiden than Mayhem. I consider this a good thing; do we really need another generic black metal release? No, but a blackened heavy/viking metal album is most certainly welcome.

Like seemingly all releases on Black Mass Records, ‘Canadian Viking Assault’ uses a drum machine that’s completely unimportant and just there to provide rhythm, and also like all Black Mass releases, the emphasis is absolutely focused on the guitars and riffing. In this case, it’s all derived from Bathory and NWOBHM artists, although the distortion is more overblown and everything’s faster. Frost Ruebenstahl can actually play guitar well, and knocks out some pretty damned good solos throughout this release. His vocals aren’t bad either, and have a lot of range, from simple black metal shrieks to lower growls and the occasional strange, ghostly moan. The riffs are all, though, and I like them a lot: very oldschool and a genuine throwback to the NWOBHM riffs we hold so near and dear. Some of us, at least.

There’s a good deal of variation as well: you have blastier, more genuinely black metal tracks, the mid-tempo NWOBHM-derived stuff, and even oddities like the utterly awesome ‘Realm’, which is nothing but neoclassical guitar and is seriously one of the coolest metal songs I’ve ever heard. I could listen to an album of nothing but material like that all day: incredibly epic, rock-influenced heavy metal guitars interlacing to create melodies of stunning beauty and intensity. It’s just so damned well delivered that it’s hard not to love. Is it poppy? Yes, but it’s also fucking great.

I like this because even if it’s not doing something quite ‘new’, it’s doing something different in a really stale market. I’d love to hear more heavy metal derived BM in the future from Wervolf, and more atmospheric guitar pieces like ‘Realm’ most certainly. It doesn’t take much to be good and different in today’s metal scene, but many bands seem to forget one or the other. Wervolf hasn’t. Check it out.

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~ by noktorn on October 1, 2007.

One Response to “Wervolf – Canadian Viking Assault”

  1. Fucking HAILS! Great review…good to see I have fans!

    -Frost

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