WOLFEN – Evilution
German power metal is an institution across the globe. Add in a little of that double bass, up-tempo thrash nature and you have the essence of Wolfen’s sound. They’ve been a group since the mid 1990’s, recorded a number of demos and 4 previous albums prior to issuing their fifth and latest "Evilution". The quintet are not on the rougher side of the genre, preferring to keep the riffs and vocals very heavy yet melodic in texture.
As many American influences come through as European ones based on my many passes for this 10 song platter. The instrumental section of "50 Dead Men" for instance features many repetitive guitar sequences and epic tendencies that reverberate well to Iron Maiden, while "The Flood" has a lot of that thick bass and steady rhythms you’d expect from Iced Earth who live to ride in the mid-tempo terrain. On the other hand a lot of the darker, clean textures and ensuing crunchier chord progressions for opener "Sea of Sorrows" fall right in line with fellow German acts such as Brainstorm or the much missed Squealer.
Vocalist Andreas v. Lipinski has a Mat Barlow meets Messiah Marcolin nature to his inflections and range – he will probably not be mistaken for the most soaring, note perfect singer in the world, but his attitude and personality give the Nevermore-ish "Chosen One" and militant, 7 minute closer "All That Remains Is Nothing" that added spark or charge to keep the metal flowing. Wolfen would probably not be near the top of the power heap in terms of a band that immediately stands out – but they have this straight forward, tenacious attitude that I think helps them appeal to more of the blue collar, steel mill working class crowd.
All that matters is can "Evilution" get the job done on a power/thrash level, and to my ears this is solid material. Smart backup vocals during the choruses, all the right twin harmony elements, versatility in the types of anthems and songs you are given – Wolfen is a veteran band still kicking ass.