Trespass – Wolf At Your Door (From the Vaults)

Wednesday, 31st May 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Best known in circles for their NWOBHM single “One of These Days”, Trespass still glides along with vocalist/guitarist Mark Sutcliffe at the helm for Wolf at the Door. The quartet consists of older and younger members, yet still adhering to a classic style that contains influences from the 70’s/80’s movement when artists like Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Led Zeppelin ruled the heavy scene. After a few spins, it’s evident that these gentlemen subscribe to a philosophy that if things aren’t broken, don’t tinker with a proven formula – and that’s what you’ll get in this straightforward traditional platform here.

The bluesy-driven chord progressions match seamlessly to the mid-range delivery Mark uses for his vocals, adding some keyboard strains next to sinister twin guitar action to make “Force of Nature” a front half standout, the lengthier lead break run taking on Rainbow-esque (Dio-period) symbolism. An energetic Joe Fawcett as second guitarist provides some modern electricity for “Crooked Cross”, one of the heavier Trespass tracks to date – while those who love the Wishbone Ash/Thin Lizzy cultural music textures plus matching ‘pirate’-like background vocal support should devour “Live Like a King”. Simple repetition gets “Daggers Drawn” incessantly battering about the brain – the slower, groovy drumming slamming home the verses while the emotive lead break could provoke future audience interactive movements. Even a lengthier ballad like “Stranger in Paradise” doesn’t sit in conventional ways – the instrumental sequence giving these musicians a chance to stretch, while the uplifting emotional payoff occurs near the final musical crescendo. Finding the right riffs to ride out allows the band to branch off in a logical, focused manner – using subtle keyboards or background vocals to enhance the proceedings rather than spread things too far off path.

Would Wolf at the Door win many album of the year contests? Probably not – but there’s nothing wrong with a meat and potatoes, straightforward metal outing that would sound just as interesting in 1980-83 as it does in 2023. Trespass may be at cult-status for the NWOBHM movement compared to say Iron Maiden, Saxon, or Def Leppard – yet it doesn’t diminish the professionalism or songwriting acumen still present.

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