Lonewolf – Army of the Damned (Napalm Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

There should be some type of moratorium on bands not only having “Wolf” in their name, but also having to start their album with the sound of thunder crackling in the sky. It’s as if there’s some type of power metal handbook that is followed word-for-word, allowing bands to be called Leatherwolf, Powerwolf, Wolfpakk, and Wolf, although the latter is infinitely better than the bands they’re unfairly listed with. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for France’s Lonewolf and their fifth album, Army of the Damned. They’re now a part of the wolf rank-and-file.

Like an even more cheesy Sabaton (sheesh), Lonewolf play a brand of heroic power metal that is long on speedy tempos, hummable melodies, and triumphant choruses. It’s a time-honored sound that while beaten to death, can be pulled if the songs are there. Most problematic for Lonewolf is singer Jens Borner, whose gruff and frazzled delivery make for a tough listening experience, especially when he tries to set the table with a big chorus, like on the cheesy “Crawling to Hell” and title track.

If Borner wasn’t around to the bring the entire operation down, it would be easier to latch onto the band’s penchant for dual guitar leads and festival-laden fist-pumpers. They’re all over the opening “Lonewolf” (love when a band names a song after itself), “Hellbent For Metal,” (which is every bit as cliché as you would think) and “The Last Defenders,” which has a nice Hammerfall feel to it. Of course, you have to contend with Borner, who gets really out of hand on “The One You Never See.”

Army of the Damned is an album only the truly (and we mean truly) devout Euro headbanger could dig. There’s enough power metal clichés here to sink about 100 other bands, so it’s probably best to stay away and let this one fade into the power metal scenery. When power metal is bad, it’s really bad. Case in point.

www.myspace.com/metalonewolf

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)