Artist:  BlackWolf
   Title: The Hunt
   Label: Independent Release

I've been guilty of it in the past and I regret it, so when I see some other reviewer state that a certain band's album is 'unoriginal', then I wish they'd take a moment to actually think about their statement.  What exactly in today's rock scene is so stand-out and totally brand new? Kadavar? Scorpion Child? Orchid? Rival Sons? All these bands are making their presence felt, yet they are bringing a 70's retro sound back to us all, rocking like Chubby Brown on a highwire in the process!  FM, Foreigner, Status Quo are still proving the doubters wrong by still drawing the crowds in, so what do these people want that will be new?  Ozzy and One Direction on a world tour together?  Kiss and The Saturdays coming together to make an album?? (a very bad idea for so many reasons!!).  C'mon, rock is rock, dude, y'know, guitars, drums and plenty of banging vocals, the way we ALL love it ... loud!!

Which eventually brings me to the reason for this rant .... BlackWolf and their debut album 'The Hunt'! This Bristol
5-piece have shouldered their way into being noticed by getting some fine support slots in the recent past, and also some of their own headline gigs, one that I had the pleasure of witnessing at Trillians in Newcastle not so long ago, where I purchased said album, one that I totally recommend to you all! Opening with the lead single 'Mr Maker', a pulsating rocker that grabs your attention from it's first riff, you just know where you're heading with this one, so go grab your denim 'n leather, pronto!  The swaggering vocals of Scott Sharp soar over the blues-tinged 'Keep Moving On', where guitar wizards Jason Cronin and John Greenhill do their best to outdo each other a la Gorham/Robertson battles in the 70's Lizzy days! 

This band have an obvious soft spot for Led Zepplin one thinks when 'Moving Mountains' begins with it's thumping drums via Tom Lennox-Brown and some humongous riffage and solos that have you reminding yourself that these are only young lads, not your aged, been there, done that band that they are taking on here!  Not content with that, the semi-acoustic gem 'Faith in Me' turns the time back to the heady days of Free, and, boy oh boy, do they do it justice!!  The soulful tone of the song is aided by touches of harmonies, but it's the acoustic overtones that really make this song so special, and one that will get more than one play when on the CD player. (Yes I did rewind quite a few times!).

At the other end of the spectrum is the storming drum-fest 'Trouble', Lennox-Brown seemingly braying the life out of his kit on this 100mph rocker, eventually slowing to catch his breath on the mid-tempo screamer 'Only Said In Silence', a bang up-to-date song that wouldn't be amiss on the likes of Alter Bridge.  'House Of Emerald Wine' boogies along like a teenager who's just copped his first 'feel', 'Raised On The Sun' draws in on the stetson-wearing man staring into the sun image due to it's 'I'm a cowboy....' familiarity, if you know what is meant by that, and the band show their rough 'n ready side on the raucous 'Black Hole Friend', new wave meets NWOBHM in one go! 

The rich-sounding, moody 'Dragging Ghosts' shows the band can tip their hats to the early 90's Seattle scene for a change, the swirling hooks a definite flashback to the likes of Pearl Jam or Temple Of The Dog, though it's back to business on the rocket-fuelled 'Belief', the searing vocals and six-strings the crux of this storming track that leaves the ears ringing long after it has ended!  Thankfully there is a break to regain your senses when the melodic 'Sleepwalking' arrives.  It's soaring solo intro eases you into another western-sounding moment where the guitars rule the roost as they take their own elongated journey through the song, but without spoiling the outcome, as some songs from other bands have suffered with.  The album comes to an end with a 'BANG' on the hard-hitting 'Sea Of Mercy', the lads coming together as one in a frenzy of power that sums up 'The Hunt' in it's entirety.

Yes, BlackWolf are onto a winner with this album of theirs, and make no mistakes, you will be howling for more from this pack, especially if you're lucky to catch them live in a town near you.  Miss them if you dare!!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

Tracklisting:

1. Mr Maker 
2. Keep On Moving
3. Moving Mountains
4. Faith In Me
5. Trouble
6. Only Said in Silence
7. House Of Emerald Wine
8. Raised On The Sun
9. Black Hole Friend
10. Dragging Ghosts
11. Belief
12. Sleepwalking
13. Sea Of Mercy

                   

 

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