7/5/2004 - Review by: Eric Compton
Lonewolf - Unholy Paradise 2004 Goi Music reviewed by: EC
In 2001 I tracked down a copy of Lonewolf's debut album, "March Into The Arena", after reading some reviews about it on the Running Wild band site. It turned out that Lonewolf had an unbelievable record on their hands, a shining first impression that led me to think these guys would only get better. "March Into The Arena" had great production, which is rather odd considering it was self-produced. The rich metal gallops of bigger acts like Helloween and Gamma Ray helped to solidify the band's induction into my "Who To Watch" list. Now, after a long hiatus, Lonewolf are howlin' at the moon again, with their sophomore release, "Unholy Paradise", courtesy of Goi Music.
The first thing I noticed upon listen was the band's step down in production values. Even with a record label involved, this album doesn't sound nearly as good as the debut. Its not unlistenable by any means, but the production is very demo-like. I also noticed that the group has a somewhat different guitar sound, probably due to new addition Dams, replacing previous guitarist Mark. This is a solid effort in my opinion, but I don't know if I really like it as much as the debut. Both are excellent in their own ways, with "Unholy Paradise" probably having more melody than the debut, but the writing and production seemed to have been sacrificed.
Opener "Stronger Than Evil" has a very catchy chorus, with plenty of Running Wild overtones. Vocalist and bassist Dryss is still very rough at the helm, reminding me of Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl. "S.P.Q.R" delves into the pure essence of Maiden, with a perfect twin guitar mix, with drummer Felix gently marching forward, building into an explosive track of epic power, reminding me of bands like Squealer and Dark At Dawn at times, but still staying very close to the "old brew" sound.
"Wild And Free" takes a quick chat with early Heaven's Gate, while "Snake In Eden" journeys into the back catalogue of Accept. Album favorites "Medieval Witchcraft" and "Erik The Red" both combine on a wonderful German melodic power sound, with those dynamic group chantings.
"Unholy Paradise" has been up and down for me. Upon my first few listens, I was very dissapointed, mainly just with the production. After repeated attempts in my player, I have come to grips with the album. Even with the bad production job, there are some unbelievable songs on this disc, with "Unholy Paradise" being the perfect soundtrack for "How To Make German Metal". The vocals are the same as the debut, the new guitarist adds a little bit of depth to the group's sound, and the arrangements have been written around a great chorus. I really enjoy the debut, but this is a good follow-up attempt, and should help to enlist Lonewolf on the shopping lists.
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