Published on June 3rd, 2020 | by Justin G.
Wolf: Feeding The Machine (Century Media, 2020)
Swedish heavy metal monsters Wolf are finally back with a follow-up to their 2014 album Devil Seed. It’s called Feeding The Machine, and it’s the band’s eighth full-length album. For this outing, founding vocalist/guitarist Niklas Stalvind and guitarist Simon Johansson are joined by a new rhythm section of bassist Pontus Egberg and drummer Johan Koleberg, both formerly with Hammerfall and Lion’s Share (among many other bands).
Wolf took their time delivering this one to us, but Feeding The Machine is more than worth the weight. It may even be the band’s best album to date. Basically everything great about Wolf – the high-speed riffs and lightning rhythms, the heavy yet ridiculously catchy melodies, Stalvind’s piercing vocals and the classic metal lyrical themes – is all perfectly distilled on this album. Their classic roots – Priest, Maiden, Metal Church – are still a big part of the overall sound, but there’s something uniquely “Wolf” about what they do. Polished steel, melodic and menacing, sinister and satisfying.
The two early singles from Feeding The Machine – “Midnight Hour” and “Shoot To Kill” – are both perfect examples of this album’s strength and overall sound. I played the hell out of both of them prior to finally getting my hands on this album (more on that in a bit), so they were early favorites. “Dead Man’s Hand” and “Mass Confusion” make quite an impact as well, with their Iron Maiden-style choruses that get right to the point. Towards the end of the album, “Spoon Bender” and “The Raven” have this great dark storytelling vibe.
Wolf was blazing away with their brand of old school metal long before it became trendy, and they’re still one of the best traditional heavy metal bands around. From the very first spin, Feeding The Machine seems like a classic Wolf album, and repeat spins have only cemented its status as a worthy heir to albums like Evil Star and The Black Flame. This one goes straight to the “best of 2020” list, and is highly recommended for fans of Judas Priest, early Iron Maiden, Metal Church, Exciter, Primal Fear, Enforcer, Twisted Tower Dire and White Wizzard.
Edition Notes: The digipack CD version of Feeding The Machine comes with a ripping cover of Angel Witch’s “Atlantis” as a bonus track. The LP version also comes with the album on CD (with the bonus track). I opted for the LP because once again they chose an amazing cover image, and because given how lousy the North American distribution is, it was only a few dollars more expensive than the CD version.
Summary: Best Wolf album in a long time