Photo by Patrik Hellström

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Music has never shied away from criticizing its industry or society. With alternative genres like metal, this often comes as angrier than most - outrage at selling the soul in line with these genres' place outside the mainstream. It's certainly the case with Legions of Bastards (Century Media, 2011), the sixth offering from Wolf, which sees the band return with their usual sleazy, horror-based metal, but with added venom.

Wolf make an interesting choice this time to lash out at the music industry with opening track "Vicious Companions". The entire song doesn't hold back; the following verse puts the point across:

Burn - in the end in my fire you'll burn
And I know that you're after my dreams again
It's lucrative business indeed
Scheming chameleon
Dependant on my blood

Pushing aside their trademark monsters and criminal insanity slant is jarring at first, though it takes a listen to the whole album to note how it colours the mood. Thematically, this record draws on personal and social episodes of betrayal and hypocrisy.

Musically, it carries harder, faster chords and angered anguish from frontman Niklas Olsson. While Wolf have stayed true to the traditional heavy metal template, with "good times" vibes in tow, they have also pushed for a harsher edge to make their own sound. Here, they've gone even further with that direction, concentrating on solos and picking up the pace. The result is not just heavier, but also sleazier and grittier. Darkening the "party hard" riffs of '80s hard rock and heavy metal lets the band fit said sleaze within bitter contexts. Hence the downcast yet catchy "Jekyll & Hyde", whose "face of justice" is "the hook in the hooker", "raping the night away".

— K. Ann Sulaiman

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"Vicious Companions"

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"Jekyll & Hyde"

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Amazon (CD)
Amazon (MP3)

CM Distro (CD, LP)

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