Time to add another member to the flag carriers of the NWOTHM movement with Old Wolf‘s self-titled EP. In case you’ve been under a rock, that’s New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal and the movement as a whole has been nothing short of glorious. Such is the case with this Kentucky band and their high voltage take on all that is great about classic trad metal filtered through today’s sound. With this band it’s all about more bang for the buck and transferring a good time feeling to the listener. And sometimes — particularly on a Saturday — good time feelings are what its all about.
To happily relive a moment in time is one of the many great things music can do. There have been so many bands as of late that have made this a priority; Skull Fist is at the top of the list for me but there’s also Striker, Enforcer and Ravensire just to name a select few. Many more where that came from for sure but what they all have in common is carrying on the legacy of many legendary bands that for us old guys won’t be around for much longer. Make no mistake the bulk of the bands in this movement take what they do deadly serious and it shows in the material they’ve collectively released. I’d go so far as to say, the godfathers of trad metal — in some cases power metal — would be damn proud of what this movement has accomplished in its rather short existence.
When it comes to EP’s you just have to deal with the fact that the whole thing is over entirely too quick. But the good thing here is the band has packed so much into the 15 or so minute runtime that it’s an entirely satisfying EP that begs for repeat listens. Take the epic feel of power metal that anchors the title track then add the high registered vocal wails and presto, you’re dropped square in the middle of some 80’s Saxon. “Trail of Tears” has some incredible hooks that will earworm you to no end, but in the best of ways. Think Grand Magus with early Judas Priest and you’re getting close. Riffs on top of riffs with — did I mention those hooks? Yes I did but wanted to make it crystal clear. This band hits you the hardest in those moments of knowing all the influences you’re hearing but being so mesmerized you miss it on first listen.
And of course the Maidenesque closer “Your Keeper” is the one that fires on all cylinders. The galloping riffs, wailing vocals, and thunderous percussion are engaging to say the least. But a curve ball happens, the pace slows to a southern acoustic drawl and out of nowhere comes dear old beezlebub to welcome you to his domain, complete with a sinister laugh. It’s a left fielder I didn’t see coming but a fun addition to an already fantastic EP.
If you call yourself a fan of traditional metal, power metal or just want to listen to something that invokes great memories, Old Wolf has you covered on their self-titled EP. Twists and turns abound but they stay true to their calling over the course of these three tracks. My only hope is that one day I’m able to catch them in concert as I’m sure they absolutely rip in the live setting. Got to give a shout out to our very own Dustin (@OldThunderMetal) because if not for him I may have missed this band. Take it from me and him, click the stream, buy it, gift it, and enjoy.