Age of Wolves – Age of Wolves (Pitch Black Records)Monday, 20th December 2021
Although a relatively new outfit since forming in 2019, Canadian rockers Age of Wolves have almost a century of music-making experience in their ranks. This debut self-titled record contains eight tracks of throwback metal with progressive hard rock nuances, the four-piece unit content to intertwine influences from the 70’s and 80’s and add a bit of a dirty, modern touch to the proceedings. Listeners can expect to develop a knack for toe-tapping hooks, gravelly and soulful vocal melodies, and a boatload of cultural licks plus harmony tricks straight out of the school of Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash, and the mighty Thin Lizzy.
Larger than life Iommi-like riffs courtesy of Al ‘Yeti’ Bones against comfortable bass/drum interplay with the appropriate shape-shifting transitions makes “Grease Monkey and the Monkey Wrench” an early front half favorite, especially with the poetic/narrative verse to burly chorus work for singer Michael Edwards. When choosing to gather momentum most will enjoy the low chugging rhythms and hard-hitting drumming for “Overlord” – the doom-oriented twists delivering aural reprieve for the next savage turn. There’s an overarching sense of comfort amongst Age of Wolves – laying into specific grooves and building the songs outward, giving space when necessary for specific bass lines, guitar harmonies, or dynamic vocals. Check out “My Love Ends All” or opener “Lil’ Burner” in those regards – the latter possessing a guitar/drum syncopation aligning with Thin Lizzy meets “The Zoo” from The Scorpions. While most of the material flies by in tighter ‘radio-conscious’ four-minutes and change arrangements, closer “Endless Tides” at almost eight minutes displays some of their progressive rock/jam tendencies, the final two minutes providing solitude with an acoustic guitar underpinning against slower electric picking.
The rather sparse, nondescript cover art probably won’t clue many into what to expect from the band – but let’s not dismiss the contents, as this is catchy, classic metal/hard rock with a bluesy/alternative touch that many in the forty-something and older market live for. One to watch as potential is certainly present.