SEASONS OF THE WOLF


"Once in a Blue Moon" (Earth Mother Music/Snakenet Records; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's been too long since we had a new album from Seasons of the Wolf, but "Once in a Blue Moon" was certainly worth the wait. The band's been enduring its share of turmoil. Recording for "Once in a Blue Moon" actually began in 2004 but, with multiple line-up changes in the bass and drums departments,  the CD wasn't completed and released until 2007. In an interesting move, the CD contains performances by those who came and went over the past few years.

Like its predecessors, "Once in a Blue Moon" is a unique combination of heavy metal and progressive elements. It's almost as though Iron Maiden merged with Dream Theater. The guitars are rhythmically powerful, the leads blistering and the vocals are razor sharp in a kind of Ronnie James Dio meets King Diamond sort of way. Keyboards boost virtually every song while managing never to sound intrusive or unnecessary.

There also seems to be a haunting theme here, a theme not necessarily found in the lyrical content but in the musical content. Despite the fact it's taken three years and a handful of musicians to complete, "Once in a Blue Moon" is a collection of songs that sound like they belong together. That isn't to say they all sound the same; nothing could be farther from the truth. It's just to say that the twelve tracks on this CD feel like important parts of the overall whole. 

Fans of such varied bands as Iron Maiden, Spock's Beard and Triumph will love "Once in a Blue Moon." It's another solid notch in the belt for the members of Seasons of the Wolf.

Seasons of the Wolf: Dennis ("Dr. Samurai") Ristow; Barry "Skully" Waddell; Wes Edward Waddell.

For more information, check out www.sotwmetal.com or www.myspace.com/seasonsofthewolf


"Nocturnal Revelation" (Earth Mother Music/Snakenet Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When one hears the term "progressive rock" or "progressive metal," one tends to think of bands that have a bit more melody and a little less bite than the usual hard rock or heavy metal. Bands like Dream Theater and Spock's Beard are known for their complicated, advanced sound, but they're not usually considered as heavy as, say, Iron Maiden.

Seasons of the Wolf, however, are like the missing link between "progressive" and "heavy." With "Nocturnal Revelation," they further prove that this is one band that's determined to carve a sound of their own. Continuing to blend the various metal genres, Seasons of the Wolf create a unique beast with this CD. "Nocturnal Revelation" rocks like a vintage Black Sabbath album crossed with a classic Iron Maiden album mixed with Gamma Ray.

With the screaming yet controlled and undeniably unique vocals of Wes Edward Waddell (imagine a cross between Ronnie James Dio, Udo Dirkschneider and Ian Gillan - if you can), the razor-sharp guitars of Barry Waddell, the non-intrusive and very important keyboards of Dennis Ristow and the always reliable backbone of Chris Whitford on bass and Wayne Hoefle on drums, Season of the Wolf weave a rock tapestry that not only will kick your ass, but that holds great promise for the future of the genre. 

The CD begins with the great riffed "New Age Revolution" which starts things off with a solid bang. Next up is "Dead Zone," one of two Stephen King-inspired songs (the other is "Storm of the Century). Other highlights include "Liar," with its chill-inducing chorus, the title track, the eerie "Skulls" and the final track, "Transmission." 

Seasons of the Wolf is a band that's re-inventing metal - and they continue to succeed magnificently!

Seasons of the Wolf: Chris Whitford - bass; Dennis ("Samurai") Ristow - keyboards & backing vocals; Wayne Hoefle - drums; Barry "Skullwolf" Waddell - guitar & backing vocals; Wes Edward Waddell - lead vocals. 

For more information, check out www.sotwmetal.com or www.myspace.com/seasonsofthewolf


"Lost In Hell" (Earth Mother Music; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Lost In Hell" is the next step in the evolution of Seasons of the Wolf. It's a CD that further displays their qualities as musicians and songwriters and yet takes the music a short step in a new direction without abandoning the hard sound that inspired them.

In my review of the band's first CD (below) I described their music as "a unique hybrid of Ronnie James Dio, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden." That description still stands. But, with "Lost In Hell," Seasons of the Wolf has added a little Pink Floyd and perhaps a little Deep Purple as well. What's perhaps more important is that - in further perfecting their style - the band has not only incorporated new inspirations, but have further developed a unique sound of their own.

Highlights include the title track, a gut-wrenching rocker with terrific, emotional vocals from Wes Waddell; "Abandoned City," an Iron-Maiden reminiscent number that brings to mind the "Terminator" films of James Cameron; "Communion," a syncopated mechanical tune that would fit great in the next "Heavy Metal" film and "Interstellar," a tune that relies heavily on the sticks of Wayne Hoefle. In addition, Barry Waddell, whose guitar work is exemplary throughout, really gets to show off on "Witchfinder" and the atmospheric "Voo Doo Master" is a strong tribute to vintage Black Sabbath. "A Face in the Mist" is an eerie instrumental that could be used in the next George Romero zombie flick.

As with the last album, "Lost In Hell" is also buoyed by strong lyrical content - lyrics that are poetic in their subtlety and not political statements rammed down your throat with a verbal fist.

"Lost In Hell" is an impressive improvement over the band's already impressive debut CD. I can't wait to hear what they're working on next!

Seasons of the Wolf: Wes Waddell, vocals; Barry Waddell, guitar and backing vocals; Chris Whitford, bass; Wayne Hoefle, drums; Dennis Ristow, keyboards and backing vocals.

For more information, check out www.sotwmetal.com or www.myspace.com/seasonsofthewolf


"Seasons of the Wolf" (Earth Mother Music; 1996)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Seasons of the Wolf's self-titled seven-track CD is a unique hybrid of Ronnie James Dio, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. The band -- who tout themselves as "the planet's only new age metal band" -- offer a heavy rock operatic sound that is driving, melodic and thoroughly intelligent all at once.

The band's thought-provoking lyrics blend smoothly with their musical style, and one gets the impression that this music is even more intense when played live. And that's impressive because it's pretty damn intense on the CD. The musicianship is tight and talented and the songs well-written and well-performed.

Seasons of the Wolf may be one example of the future of heavy music. 

Seasons of the Wolf: Wes Waddell on lead vocals; Barry Waddell on guitar and backup vocals; Phaedra Rubio on bass guitar; Wayne Hoefle on drums and Dennis Ristow on keyboards and backup vocals.

For more information, check out www.sotwmetal.com or www.myspace.com/seasonsofthewolf


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

 


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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Nov 2017 10:28:13 -0500 .