Wolfen – “Chapter IV” (Pure Legend Records)
WOLFEN are METAL. It proudly sez so on their site and this 4th album in their 15 year long career pretty much attests to that. Based in Cologne, these guys have toured with the likes of Annihilator, Kreator, In Flames, Hatesphere, Tankard and many, many more which is probably why they’re not that well known outside their native Germany, simply cos they’re popular enough there. Still, things might change with “Chapter IV” as it’s a damn fine contemporary heavy metal album drawing inspiration from the greats like Maiden and Metallica as well as those they’ve toured with. Offering the full range of material from chopping thrashers like ‘Nefilim’ to fast Metalli-bangers like ‘Unbroken’, this meat n potatoes metal with no frills, choirs or keyboards, only the strength of the musicianship and quality of songs. Truer words couldn’t be spoken on the powerful ballard of ‘Birmingham 6’ – as moving as the injustice of the true to life court case involving six men, wrongfully convicted for an IRA bombing in the 70s. I’m not sure how a band from Germany could relate to this but they clearly have, and in a very deep way, as reflected by the emotional vocals and the charged atmosphere especially in the chorus of ‘…freed at last, after 16 years, freed at last, to the joy of tears….’. Mightily impressive and as such, Wolfen have proving beyond all reasonable doubt that they are ready for the next step into the big league.