Published on May 27th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Wolfpakk: Wolves Reign (AFM)
German melodic metal project Wolfpakk is back after a 2-year break with a new album, their fourth overall, titled Wolves Reign. Wolfpakk was put together by vocalists Michael Voss (Mad Max, Casanova) and Mark Sweeney (ex-Crystal Ball), and features a rotating cast of guest vocalists and musicians. Once again they’ve assembled a first-rate collection of talent to bring these songs to life.
On vocals, Wolves Reign features Biff Byford (Saxon), Claus Lessmann (ex-Bonfire), Mike Vescera (Obsession, ex-Loudness, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Tony Harnell (TNT), Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia), Jioti Parcharidis (Victory), Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper), Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Danny Vaughn (Tyketto), Andy Luckford (Killer), Simone Chrsitinat (Legenda Aurea) and Jean-Marc Viller (Callaway).
Musicians on this effort include bassists Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, ex-Dio), Marc Lynn (Gotthard), Volker Krawczak (Axel Rudi Pell) and Michael Muller (Jaded Heart), guitarists George Lynch (Lynch Mob, ex-Dokken), Timo Somers (Delain), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Jan Majura (Evanescence) and Chris Holmes (ex-WASP), and drummers Gereon Homann (Eat the Gun) and Alex Holzwarth (Avantasia).
That’s a pretty stunning array of high-profile names from the metal world, but Wolfpakk is still Voss and Sweeney’s show, and they’ve delivered another fine collection of songs that straddle the line between melodic rock and heavy metal. The songs on Wolves Reign would be right at home on the average Masterplan or Mad Max album. Great melodies go a long way, especially with these vocalists bringing them home.
Of the guest singers, it’s Byford, Harnell, Hartmann, Atkins and Vaughn that stand out the most, but that may be my own bias at work. Sweeney and Voss do a hell of a job as well. The guitar solos are all first-rate as well.
If there’s a downside here, it’s that Wolves Reign is more or less the same album as the three Wolfpakk albums that came before it. Voss and Sweeney have a formula and they’re sticking to it. Fortunately it’s a formula that works. Besides, you don’t have to break new ground when you have a lineup like this. Just give these singers material that takes advantage of their talents, which is what they’ve done here.
Fans of the previous three Wolfpakk albums are going to love Wolves Reign. And if you’re any kind of melodic rock and metal fan, you really can’t ignore an album with this kind of lineup. It’s basically an Avantasia album without the rock opera storyline and over the top arrangements.
Summary: Like a German Avantasia