Germany’s Wolfen formed over 15 years ago, they are tagged as power metal, but in fairness their music is a little bit more than that sweeping categorisation. The opener ‘Revolution/Evolution’ actually sounds a little like British metal, a bit like Blaze Bayley’s first couple of releases. Andreas Von Lipinski’s vocals even phrase like Bayley’s when his notes are held or extended. The music gallops and has many-a-metal stereotype present, but this is not a derogatory statement, Wolfen actually pull this style off with ease. A twin guitar attack always sounds good when laden with riff after riff of traditional metal heritage, granted, they do have some influence of say current Grave Digger and Rage and songs like ‘D.F.A.I.T.’ really have a similar quality and staying power. With many of Wolfen’s songs, you are often singing along and you are reminded of the value of melody and particular keynote arrangements, a talent that is not often taught.
The only thing I don’t really find palatable on such an album as ‘Chapter IV’ are the mid to slow paced songs, like ‘Hole in the Sky’. This loses the momentum that has previously been building, no matter how mystifying the guitar solo may be, which is a shame. ‘Unbroken’ picks up the pace again, into almost thrash territory, but refrains too much genre hopping and stays true to their traditional metal roots. There are moments when you can duly raise a fist in the air and sing along, before being forced into a metal pose of course, a moment to bang your head in appreciation and listen to the epic guitar solos, and there are plenty to rejoice with on this album.
‘Chapter IV’ is, well you guessed it, Wolfen’s fourth release following a long six year hiatus. When Wolfen get the tempo right, you have some strong material to hand, there are other moments where your interest lowers and that is simply because it kills the album flow, but in a strange way, the semi-ballad ‘Birmingham 6’ holds the album flow in better regard, especially with its true to life story behind the music. Wolfen are a band that has the potential to stand alongside some of forefathers of this genre, the music is just about right, but for me the mid-paced tracks distract you from the general overall excitement that an album like ‘Chapter IV’ bestows upon you.
(7/10 Paul Maddison)