Feeding The Machine

Century Media
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Shoot to Kill
02. Guillotine
03. Dead Man's Hand
04. Midnight Hour
05. Mass Confusion
06. The Cold Emptiness
07. Feeding the Machine
08. Devil in the Flesh
09. Spoon Bender
10. The Raven
11. Black Widow
12. A Thief Inside

Although formed in the mid '90s, WOLF's great breakthrough moment came in 2004, when their third album, "Evil Star", seemed to single-handedly kickstart a new-wave-of-old-school heavy metal, leading to the emergence of ENFORCER, CAULDRON, WHITE WIZZARD and countless others. What discerning consumers will have noticed at the time, and this remains true, is that none of the bands that followed in the Swedes' wake came even vaguely close to "Evil Star"'s self-evident brilliance or indeed its two underground predecessors (2002's "Black Wings" being a particularly magnificent record, in case you've never had the pleasure). Whether it was Niklas Stålvind's instantly recognizable voice and gift for ghoulish metal poetry or the cunning way WOLF never sounded specifically like any particular band from the cherished past, they were always a cut above.

Sixteen years on, nothing much has changed. And that's just the way we like it. "Feeding The Machine" simply sounds like a classic WOLF album, rather than some self-conscious attempt to resurrect 1982's leather-bound sounds. Their identity as a band is so well-established now that Stålvind and his comrades are clearly having fun with it, keeping things varied and versatile enough to avoid repetition, but never straying too far from what is, let's face it, a pretty fucking cool wheelhouse. This time round, the propulsive, edgy likes of "Midnight Hour", "Shoot to Kill" and "Devil in the Flesh" suggest that WOLF are considerably more fired up than they were on 2014's "Devil Seed", while the authentically chilling "The Cold Emptiness" and dark and dramatic closer "A Thief Inside" allow the Swedish quintet's collective imagination to flourish, with the occasional proggy touch thrown in as an immersive bonus.

Elsewhere, "Guillotine" sounds exactly as you would hope a song called "Guillotine" would sound, KING DIAMOND-esque structural quirks included; "Mass Confusion" takes a mid-paced, SLAYERized approach to gritty grandeur; and "Spoon Bender" somehow lives up to its inspired title, as riffs of ANVIL-like thuggishness blend seamlessly with enticing, psychedelic vibes. It's all executed with real venom, Stålvind howling at the eye of the storm, but with a twinkle in its eye that only true believers in this stuff will see. Heavy metal is still the law, WOLF still rule and "Feeding The Machine" delivers multiple jolting doses of the real goddamn thing. Excellent work.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).