WOLFBANE (s/t) CD
The NWOBHM movement is like a huge treasure chest. Apart from all the well-known and successful bands, there have been hundreds of unknown and obscure bands who never achieved a breakthrough. One of these groups who were less fortunate than others is WOLFBANE, and if there wouldn't be Shadow Kingdom Records, only a few people may possibly remember this hardhitting power trio from the UK. This album, released in 2009, is a compilation of the first two demo's that have been recorded in 1981 and 1982. The first demo kicks off with 'Wolfbane', that is one of WOLFBANE's earliest and most anthemic songs, with it's eerie opening and super catchy chorus. 'Leave Me' is the next highlight on this disc. Again it's time to shine for guitarist Gramie Dee. His raw and powerful voice is really unique but his qualities as guitarplayer can hardly be overlooked. The overall sound demonstrates a definite 1970's heavy rock influence with darkness and depth. 'See You In Hell' opens with a smoking riff which reminds to the best moments of bands like Sir Lord Baltimore or Night Sun. It's an almost 10 minute epic that morphs into an up-tempo monster with galloping bass and blistering guitar work.
Then comes the second demo from 1982, named 'Bethany's Sin' with considerably shorter songs, but there are still all the typical 1970's heavy rock elements. Gramie Dee's sounds more emotional but never cheesy. Drummer Syd Mercury has been replaced by Sid Oxton, but I see no big difference. But actually it doesn't matter, because WOLFBANE remained a killer band at this stage. 'Elric Of Melniböne' is another catchy track with similarities to Pagan Altar. Not only Gramie Dee knows how to convince, but also bassplayer Dale Lee who provides the basis with some pumping and flexible basslines. The next killer song is 'The Howling' that is breathtakingly vigorous and rocks in the classic 1970s hard rock sense. 'Midnight Lady' is the last track here with a magical combination of Dee's metal-infected guitar riffs and a galloping rhythm section. After the end of WOLFBANE, Gramie Dee and Dale Lee formed Blood Money, but that's another story. Everybody who has a huge preference for 1970's heavy rock and the first wave of bands from the NWOBHM movement is obliged to buy a copy of this sensational compilation. Of course both demos have been re-mastered to guarantee a good sound quality and the informative booklet contains WOLFBANE's history and additional liner notes to each song.