WOLFPAKK is a German Hard Rock / Melodic Metal band formed by two musicians: Michael Voss (ex-CASANOVA, MAD MAX) and Mark Sweeney (ex-CRYSTAL BALL). Both have known each other for a long time and a collaboration was due anytime. And so, anno 2011, WOLFPAKK was born and a first release, the self-titled album, came out on the 26th August. To complete the rest of the positions (vocals and instrumentation), the duo appealed to various experienced people, as the list below indicates:
Vox: Paul Di’Anno (ex-IRON MAIDEN), Tony Martin (ex-BLACK SABBATH), Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Y. MALMSTEEN, TALISMAN), Rob Rock (IMPELITTERI), Mark Boals (ex-Y. MALMSTEEN), Tim Ripper Owens (ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ex-ICED EARTH), Paul Shortino (ex-QUIET RIOT), Mark Fox (ex-SHAKRA), Michaela Schober (TANZ DER VAMPIRE), Jean-Marc Viller (CALLAWAY), Pearl and Molly Duncan
Bass: Tony Franklin (ex-BLUE MURDER, ROBERT PLANT), Mat Sinner (PRIMAL FEAR, SINNER, VOODOO CIRCLE), Matthias Rethmann (ex-LEEZ, SILVER), Nils Middelhauve (XANDRIA), Neil Murray (WHITESNAKE), Barend Courbois (VENGEANCE)
Guitars: Jgor Gianola (U.D.O.), Andy Midgeley (POWER QUEST), Ira Black (ex-VICIOUS RUMORS, LIZZY BORDEN), Torsten Koehne (EDEN’s CURSE), Doc Heyne (BISS), Tommy Denander (DAN REED, PAUL STANLEY), Nadja Kossinskaja (PETER MAFFAY), Freddy Scherer (GOTTHARD), Olaf Lenk (AT VANCE), George Solonos (TOMMY LEE)
Keys: Alessandro Delveccio (GLENN HUGHES, IAN PAICE), Ferdy Doernberg (AXEL RUDI PELL, ROUGH SILK)
Drums: Gereon Homann (EAT THE GUN)
The self-titled debut kicks off with “Sirens”. You get a symphonic intro to begin with, after which the keyboards fall in with Metal bursts to then properly take off. The singing is clean, but with a rough edge and this fits very well with the music. Considering the large amount of guest vocalists, this is not the only song where several vocalists can be heard. So, it’s not one vocalist per song. Musically all is quite simply, but good. “Dark Horizons” is a better track, in my opinion, it’s stronger. Keyboards as an intro, creating an atmosphere of mystery, a little Sci-Fi if you will. Powerful Heavy Metal comes in until the keyboards have faded away. Hence the increase in power, in firmness. The chorus is simple, but of the sing-along type. There’s room for guitar solos, too, always something to take into account. All in all, you get the classic pattern, but the end result is definitely worth checking out.
“Lost” is the second highlight. Again an intro was composed to also let the song build slowly and so carry on until on course. The tempo increases a little in the bridge and pounding chorus with female vocals and backing choir. The keyboards add an Eastern touch. Of course, on a whole, melody plays an important role. It’s also nice to see how the song is split in two with an acoustic, neo-classical break. Pounding Metal follows then with group vocals, making it sound almost like a musical. The obligatory guitar solo is reserved for after that special momentum. Very nice material, I must say. “Slam Down The Dammer” reminded me of old HAMMERFALL, with a slow chorus that doesn’t flow that well, at least to my ears. The solos are good.
This brings us to highlight #3, “The Crow”. The intro consists of 3 elements: guitar, organ, (marching) drums. Very nice and contrasting with the solid Heavy Metal that kicks in after that. The bridge and chorus were given a hymnic touch, which is a joy to listen to. “Wolfpup” is an interlude consisting of only the acoustic guitar. Not bad, but nothing special either. “Let Me Die” is a Power Rocker that reminded me, somehow, of AVANTASIA’s “The Scarecrow”. “Reptile’s Kiss” is a typical 80’s Metal song. Simple, melodic, but it sure rocks! And is of course another highlight on this album. The same counts for “Ride The Bullet”, which is a Bluesy Rocker with a firm drive. Well executed and composed! Last but not least, there’s “Wolfony”. As it’s the longest song, an intro is mandatory. It’s a symphonic one (surprise, surprise) with strings and brass instrumentation. The piano comes in soon enough and the symphonics remain in place, though return in the middle and at the end of the song. You could compare the whole with SAVATAGE or perhaps TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. Once that aspect is done, double-bass uptempo Metal is the road of choice. Epic stuff!
WOLFPAKK definitely released a very worthwile debut album. You get qualitative Melodic Metal that of course brings nothing new to the table, but everything sounds good, the songs are well written (one better than the other, but that’s normal) and each guest musician did his/her job. If you’re into this kind of music or projects that involve a scale of guests (Rock/Metal Opera style), then WOLFPAKK can be safely added to your collection. For those who need comparable material: SINNER, EDGUY, DIGNITY, SHAKRA, JORN, AXXIS, …
- Dark Horizons
- Slam Down The Hammer
- The Crow
- Let Me Die
- Reptile’s Kiss
- Ride The Bullet
Mark Sweeney – vocals
Michael Voss – vocals
[xrr rating=4/5 =”Rating: “]