Release DetailsLABEL Metalism Records
RELEASED ON 3/12/2005
Wolves of Odin
posted on 2/2007 By:
All the essential elements are here. You have your Maiden-esque riffs, cheesy but charming vocals, and galloping pace. Those qualities make up almost all of our favorite meat and potatoes traditional metal classics. So why does this feel so average?
Kazakhstan's finest are now a decade old. They have released ten albums in as many years. Yes, they average one album a year. Maybe that explains why every experience I've had with Holy Dragons thus far has been lukewarm. Too often it sounds as if they're going through the motions. This has to be more than a tribute to really resonate with the listener, and it is all too easy to name drop every band that's made a considerable impact to the history of metal. Sure, bands like Bible of the Devil and Wolf can be compared to Maiden, but ultimately, they bring something unique to the table that distinguishes them from those that are merely paying tribute.
Metal should be anything but safe. The greatest bands are those that find their identity through great experimentation (Sabbath, Mastodon, Celtic Frost, Death, etc.). Wolves of Odin is safe. Soaring vocals? Check. Crunchy guitar tone? Check. Catchy but all too formulaic songs? Again, check. From the sound of a ringing bell that opens "Dogs of War" to the mostly flat hyper-melody of "The Last Fight," the album exasperates itself trying to fulfill every metal cliche known to man and god alike.
Don't get me wrong. Jurgen Thunderson and Chris Caine work themselves into a fury and produce some truly exhilarating riffs at times, especially near the end of "The Last Fight," but as a whole Wolves of Odin isn't entirely convincing as a stand-alone album. Maybe my American sensibilities are showing a bit too much here but I want something a little more visceral and cutting. Give me Crescent Shield and Pharaoh, bands that are unafraid to change pace and carve their own identity. Holy Dragons have the talent but they need to seriously think about what they can offer audiences that will distinguish them from the rest of the traditional metal pack.
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