Lonewolf- Army of the Damned

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, January 9, 2013

French heavy/power metal band Lonewolf is another band that hadn’t come across my radar until now, but they have been around for two decades now and released their fifth full length album Army of the Damned on Napalm Records last March. It’s a fairly lengthy effort, spanning 55 minutes in length and finds the band playing a familiar blend of melodic and up-tempo riffs. While the instrumentals are tight musically and the level of power and energy is consistent, the individual tracks aren’t quite distinguishable enough from each other and this keeps the effort from being a must listen.

It’s clear from the songs on Army of the Damned that the members of Lonewolf have had plenty of time to get this style down, as they pull from the power/heavy metal playbook with ease. There’s the right mix of blistering fast paced arrangements that offer plenty of high flying guitar riffs and slower ballads that up the melody, and it’s the type of material that’s instantly appealing to fans of the style. But once you begin to dive deeper into what the group has to offer, it becomes apparent that they are able to hit all of the required genre elements but don’t quite stand out on their own. The main reason for this is that while there are some riffs that grab listeners, there aren’t quite enough of them that will make you want to immediately repeat a track. Lonewolf does everything competently, but never truly rises above the pack with their songs.

Vocalist Jens Borner is likely going to play a significant part in whether listeners can get into this release or not, as he has the type of extremely gruff clean singing that’s always an acquired taste. It’s a very different type of pitch for what’s typical of power metal, but at times is reminiscent of Grave Digger and other long running acts that have the same type of raw vocal performance. What Borner lacks in range he makes up for in power and energy as he manages to stay consistently heavy hitting for the entire album. Some people might find it grating by the time 50 minutes roll around, but I personally found it a nice change of pace from the constant falsettos I’ve been hearing in the genre lately.

Army of the Damned is a decent album that has all of the expected power/heavy metal elements down but doesn’t manage to stand out from the slew of other strong releases in the genre. For people that are really into this type of music, that might be enough though and if you’re one of them I encourage you to check Lonewolf out. But there isn’t quite enough of a wow factor present to put this one into the spotlight, and that leaves the band right in the middle of the pack.


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