By: Chris Davsion
A shortie, but a goodie, for you here, folks. If, like me, you're old enough to remember print heavy metal magazines that would cover everything from Def Leppard through Venom, Anvil (the first time round), Exodus to Winger and call it all “Heavy Metal,” then you'll be as perplexed as me in understanding the rise of the sub-genre. When does stoner metal become doom metal? What the hell is post-metal, anyway? Death metal I can live with, but do we really need to further sub-divide as deeply as “progressive technical brutal death metal?”
What does this have to do with Wölfhead? Well, much as with the similarly excellent Grand Magus, while there are elements of Wölfhead that do sound like doom metal, to my ears and mind this is best consigned to just being called “heavy metal.” So, yes, there are plenty of reference points in this six track EP – including a bloody awful cover version of Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” that is best forgotten – that refer to classic American doom metal bands, but the tempo is just too mid-paced and blue collar to be fully lost in all that maudlin nonsense that doom bands often indulge in. Yes, in the soulful guitar licks and Wino-esque vocals, you may be able to sense more than a soupcon of Saint Vitus. “Sons of Asgard” has an epic sound and obvious lyrical content that brings to mind the wailing majesty of prime Cirith Ungol. Yet, there is also freshness here, in bringing the elements that made classic heavy metal so invigorating and exciting. There is a naiveté in the delivery, an enthusiasm that bounds from the speakers in much the same way as fellow Hessians, The Gates of Slumber.
At a short five songs, the really tragedy here is that Wölfhead don't really have much time to spend with you, before their blend of full-on, meaty mid-paced galloping epic heavy metal has finally petered out, leaving you with an execrable cover version of a tedious original song. Ignore the cover version - after all, the skip button was meant to be used, and instead rejoice in this short treat.
Wonderful stuff all round.