I first became aware of Blackwülf when I received their newest album in my bandcamp collection through my Ripple subscription. I like playing an album without any preconceptions like this, and from the first few songs Blackwülf had reeled me in. This Oakland quartet weave their 70s Sabbath-inspired riffs into a very pleasing soundscape, taking you along on their ride.
Colossus opens with a light and pleasing intro riff, shifting gears into more heavy riffage for the verse and chorus after a brief while. From the start there’s no denying the musical intentions of this band. Melodically it flows seamlessly into Memories, which really has some very intense vocal work and a nice fuzzy solo to lead out the song. Acid Reign interestingly starts with interwoven arpeggios with some echoes of Sweet Dreams of all songs, but not in an unpleasing way. The body of the song itself reminds me a lot of Mothership, who I love a lot, and this song thunders along very nicely indeed. Dark Tower is a laid-back folksy link that helps to build on the vibe of the album. The Locusts brings us back in Hard Rock territory, with a song that follows the riff-vocals-rhythm-solo-outro blueprint that is so effective and pleasing to the ear. Wings of Steel has a very strong chorus, and is a nice high-octane rocker overall with a style change halfway that helps to elevate the song to one of the best of the album. Faith Healer and Red Eyes continue on along the same vein, solid rocking songs, I particularity loved the bridge in the latter. Never Forget has an almost ominous start, continuing with the band keeping on-form with their driven playing and intense vocal work, with some rare but effective vocal harmonies. March of the Damned closes the album by evoking the Gothic proto-Doom that can be so pleasing, with more than a passing nod to Sabbath, and indeed it is done very well here. A fitting tribute and an awesome finish to one of the best albums of the year as far as I am concerned.
My overall impression: A very solid heavy Rock album indeed, paying tribute to the past but having their feet firmly in the present, the band managed to create their own sound from a blend of influences. Has not left my play rotation since getting it. One of the best of its kind released this year, I will follow these guys with interest and hope I will be able to see these tracks played live in the near future.
My Rating: 91/100