WOLF’S LAIR – Wolf’s Lair
In the recent past, traditional forms of metal have become a resurgent breed of heavy metal in India and Wolf’s Lair’s debut EP is proof of the same. Formed from the ashes of the now-defunct heavy metal act Blood & Iron, Wolf’s Lair have been playing regularly in the Chennai circuit and the four-track EP showcases the band’s more recent musical influences.
In feel, the music echoes the vibe of traditional European metal bands, bordering on the lines of Swedish power metal. There’s a lot of Hammerfall and Primal Fear, albeit with Mark Thomas’s low frequency vocals. I enjoy Mark’s vocal lines. They’ve always been his strengths and remain etched in your memory, even after the song is done. The highlight of the album, however are the keyboards. It’s a very synth-heavy album, with the keys taking top priority and controlling the flow of the songs. Fragmented Forever and New World Disorder both begin with a synth intro with the guitars and drums forming the underlying layers. The keyboards, while quite virtuoso take away the emphasis from the rest of the instruments on more than one occasion. The album is also almost completely defunct of guitar solos, quite the opposite of what you would expect from a band of this genre. All the soloing duties are handled by the keyboards. My favourite track off the EP is the title track, Wolf’s Lair. Mid-tempo riffing with very tasteful drumming and a powerful vocal line to boot.
All in all, the album reflects Wolf’s Lair’s present musical stance. It’s not far from their days with Blood & Iron. I personally would have liked a better studio mix, this mix doesn’t capture the essence of the band’s sound. The band does do a much better job live but you can still pick it up the album to get a gauge of the band’s musical prowess. A must own for keyboardists though!