WORDS: Tom Wakenell
After WOLVESPIRIT’s success with their hypnotic album Dreamcatcher in 2013, the quartet from Wurzburg have teamed up in the studio with producer Michael Wagener, who gained notoriety from working with acts such as METALLICA and OZZY OSBOURNE, to create a well-merged blend of psychedelic music with a raw, hard rock edge.
WolveSpirit‘s latest record kicks off with I Am Free, a track laced with an IRON MAIDEN influence, encapsulated by the galloping guitar riffs and sonorous power chords, supplied by Richard “Rio” Eberlein. Vocalist Debby Craft’s jagged voice compliments the instrumentation and I Am Free sets the benchmark with its nostalgic tone. Shining is the next offering, featuring singer Mark Slaughter of SLAUGHTER fame. The guitar introduction is shrouded in reverberation, which has an air of tranquility about it. Despite its lax nature, Debby Craft’s vocals suit the mood of the track, displaying her versatility and combined with the power of Mark Slaughter’s singing, the combination makes for a cohesive track.
Let Me Live takes a formulaic approach; with a solid 4/4 drum beat accompanied by a repetitive guitar riff and wailing vocals. It has an essence of BLONDIE, but it is too pedestrian to compete in that category. Following next is Into The Mirror, which emanates pure blues-rock, especially from the chugging, staccato guitar and the backing keyboard motifs. Angelman stands at almost five minutes long, yet leaves little to be desired. The track is downbeat for the most part and other than the BLACK SABBATH-esque riff throughout the verse and the virtuoso guitar solo, Angelman doesn’t do much to impress.
However there is a moment of redemption with Moonlight. The harmonious vocal intro sets the precedence for the rest of the track. It’s exciting and WOLVESPIRIT completely delve into their ‘70s rock mindset, bringing out their energetic nature. My Best Friend emulates the idea of the typical rock ballad, similar to WHITESNAKE, but the end product is fairly monotonous.
Wild Woman certainly lives up to its name – Craft sounds as close to Stevie Nicks as you could get. It is evident that Craft shines in the faster-tempo, edgier tracks and Wild Woman solidifies that notion. Once again, Mark Slaughter joins WOLVESPIRIT on a track, and this time it’s This Is Love. Immediately, the track is reminiscent of LED ZEPPELIN’s Black Dog, and packs a blues punch. This is one example of the band taking it down a notch but the blend of the slow, plodding instrumentation and the vocals working terrifically.
Time Lord is a prime example of WOLVESPIRIT adding a modern twist to their music. It is heavy and sounds like a female fronted MOTLEY CRUE mixed with a lesser complex AVENGED SEVENFOLD at points, which is not a bad thing.
Spirit In My Soul demonstrates WOLVESPIRIT’s unfortunate knack repetition. In an era where blues has existed for so long, it is vital to provide a unique twist on the genre, but Spirit In My Soul falls flat. Sometimes fails to redeem its predecessor, and its unnecessary length of over five minutes drags the song out, whereas it could have been decent if shorter and concise. Concluding the album is Mercy, which combines a country style with hard rock, which creates a pleasant surprise and a lift from the mediocrity of the bulk of the album.
WOLVESPIRIT have got the components to become a household name in the psychedelic rock scene, but they need to eradicate some the repetitive tracks and thrive on their musical abilities, which we only see glimpses of throughout Free.
Free is set for release on March 25th via Spirit Stone Records.
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