Lonewolf – The Fourth and Final Horseman – Napalm Records – Out now
Lonewolf hails from France and was started back in 1992. They released a demo and an EP before calling it a day in 1996, before they even released a first album. In 2000 the band reformed and struck back with “March into the Arena” filled with heavy/power metal tracks of a very distinct German sound, not in the least that of Gravedigger. This year they released their fourth album.
Jens Börner – vocals, guitar
Alex Hilbert – guitar
Rikki Mannhard – bass
Antoine Bussière – drums
The Fourth and Final Horseman
A slightly folky guitar tune welcomes you before chugging into classic heavy metal riffing coupled with slightly throaty vocals that hold the middle ground between Chris Boltendahl from Gravedigger and Joakim Brodén of Sabaton. One could be forgiven for wincing at hearing this type of singing for the first, but it fits the music and it’s always nice to have a deviation from the usual heavy metal singing fare.
The music itself is also rather comparable to Gravedigger and the less bombastic songs of Sabaton, made for headbanging and singing along with the lyrics. The first song “The Fourth and Final Horseman” starts off chugging along nicely before picking up speed halfway. It gives a good example of what to expect on this cd, yet it feels just a bit too lacklustre for an opening track. With a heavy metal album you’d expect the first song to grab you by the balls right away. Luckily the band finds the speed pedal about halfway through the song and it is by no means a bad song. Just the placement could have been better.
Another reason why it might have been better to choose a different opening song is because the second track “The Poison of Mankind” starts in a very subdued manner. Two slow starters in a row is a bit much, especially at the start. A side note to this song is that Jens’ vocals aren’t really suited for soft parts. He would be better off singing in a ‘normal’ voice. Luckily the song gradually gains more tempo and the song fills up with a lot more bombast. At this point one would be forgiven to think they’re listening to a track by Sabaton, be it with a lower recording quality.
The third track “Hellride” would’ve been a very good opener. Just a slight warming up at the start of the song and then it goes full speed ahead, true heavy metal style. This song’s made for live show partying. It’s also one of the few songs that really put the pedal to the metal; another would be the furious “Throne of Skulls” that has a nice neck breaking speed to it.
The band clearly loves their epics as the album finishes with “Destiny” which, like the second track, opens up slowly yet clearly displays a rising fury to which the song quickly takes us. The song ends on a more tranquil note, yet does not take away from the power of the album. It’s like a sea of rest after the heavy pounding you got before getting there.
Lonewolf might not be the most original band around, but they have heart and the songs reflect this. It’s unlikely they will get much farther than they are right now, the music’s just not original enough and they seem mostly suited to be openers for a band like Gravedigger. But at least they’ll be sure to give you a good time if you’re into heavy metal with some nice bombast to it.
- The Fourth and Final Horseman
- The Poison of Mankind
- Time of War
- Another Star Means Another Death
- Guardian Angel
- Throne of Skulls
- The Brotherhood of Wolves
Score: 3 out of 5
Text Robert Popovic