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Death Wolf: II Black Armoured Death

Growing up, some of the neighborhood kids used to say "H. E. Double Hockey Sticks" instead of "Hell." I guess they worried that saying the word "Hell" itself could bring about some kind of mysterious consequence they didn't want to know about. In any event, we all knew what they meant and learned how to spell the word without any trouble at all. The members of Death Wolf spell the word with only one hockey stick. Is there some other place called "Hel" that I don't know about?

Death Wolf is an awesome name for a band; it brings to mind a riff-centered biker group, the kind that plays meaty chords and wears long braided beards. This album doesn't quite capture that image, nor does it capture that sound. I'm not judging their sound on my imagination, but I was less-than-impressed with this release.

Things start out well enough. The opening track "Noche de Brujas" is a fast and catchy song that stole the show for me. As I listened I made a note to include this song on all my future playlists for the foreseeable future. The second song, "World Serpent," comes in as a close second. The rest of the album, though, has an inconsistent quality to it, one that explores slower, moodier sounds that don't quite work. I was particularly disappointed with "Luciferian Blood Covenant," an instrumental track that is very minimal in its songwriting and melody. To my ears, it was just an arpeggio repeated over and over again with a wordless and minimal melody thrown in for an extra shot of mood. It was all too simple and didn't seem to have anywhere to go.

There's a good band here, especially when they are playing in the fast, more aggressive style of the opening tracks. I don't expect any band to play in only one style, nor do I think they should try to please my own tastes, but sometimes they mix things up too soon. These guys ought to give us more of what they're truly good at. Give "Noche de Brujas" a listen.

Track Listing:
1. Noche de Brujas
2. World Serpent
3. Lord of Putrefaction
4. Darkness of Hel
5. Sudden Bloodletter
6. Malice Striker
7. Night Stalker
8. Luciferian Blood Covenant
9. Black Armoured Death
10. Death Wolf March
11. Little Black Angel
12. Snake Mountain
13. Rothenburg

Added: March 22nd 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1835
Language: english

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Death Wolf: II Black Armoured Death
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-03-22 17:00:30
My Score:

With strong links to black metal legends Marduk through a shared bassist in the shape of Morgan Hakansson, Death Wolf actually began life as Misfits/Samhain covers act, morphing through a variety of guises before trying to ditch their past with their self titled, first outing proper. That debut didn't quite cut the links with the Misfits, or Marduk, but with album number two, II Black Armoured Death, DW have indeed moved on. However where previous efforts were too reliant on past influences, II-BAD doesn't really know what it is and save for three or four killer tracks, spends much of its time floundering around looking for a true identity.

"Noche De Brujas" gives an early glimmer of greatness, the deliberate brutality crawling into your mind with intent, set on hammering a mix of riffs, stinging beats and spewing attitude that is as captivating as it is putrid. Then "World Serpent" keeps the ball rolling, while hinting at this album's main issue, with the punky early S.O.D.-alike steamrollering convincingly, while having nothing to do with the songs that preceded it. In isolation the diversity is a good thing, but when "Lord Of Putrification" decides to go all stoner doom and "Darkness Of Hel" (their spelling, not mine...) tries and fails to add a little NWOBHM guitar pyro to the mix, II-BAD (which surely doesn't stand for too bad...?) really begins to wobble. The full on attack of "Sudden Bloodletter" steadies things momentarily and "Snake Mountain" does bring a little groove later on, but in between "Luciferian Blood Covenant" is instrumental atmosphere setting fluff, while the overlong "Death Wolf March" leads its masses down a blind alley.

When II Black Armoured Death is good, it is stunningly so. However all too often the eye is taken off the prize here and when it is, the results really struggle under their own far reaching intentions.

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