Nightrage - Wolf To Man
Despotz Records
Pure Melodic Death Metal
12 songs (43:55)
Release year: 2019
Nightrage, Despotz Records
Reviewed by Ben

I'm gonna open this pit up with a hot take! Nightrage is as important to European Melodic Death Metal as Iced Earth is to USA Power Metal. Both are long running institutions, both have had numerous lineup changes, and both are helmed by determined individuals who have kept the spirit of real metal alive in each of their respective bands. Also like Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth, Marios Iliopoulos has had to rebuild Nightrage from the ground up more than once. This latest album of theirs, Wolf To Man, is the result of another lineup shift. I still think of the other guitarist as a "new guy" but he did play on the last album, The Venomous. A newly minted rhythm section though brings some drumming surprises. In fact, I would say the drumming overall on this album is a huge highlight. *movie announcer voice* In a world, where everyone is using Superior Drummer or GPro, one band decides to record real drums. The ensuing clarity and aggression, it begins to change people. It begins to make them... rambunctious. Seriously though, the blast beats are great, the snare is hit with authority, and a spirited performance on drums really propels the songs with constant energy.

Nightrage are a very purist band when it comes to this style of music. The easiest comparison would be to early era In Flames but they were never as intense as the songs on Wolf II Man are. Whether it's current singer Ronnie, or any of their past vocalists, each guy sounds legitimately pissed off. None of their songs sound like the harsh vocals are being performed in a leisurely manner. Another thing about Wolf 2 Man is that there are no clean vocals here. This is pure aggression and adrenaline the whole album through and I like it this way. Guitar wise there are tons of riffs all over the place with this album. Hell, the title track has one of the best moshing headbanging sections I've heard this side of classic Anthrax. It starts about 2:27. Once Ronnie screams and the drums kick back in, you want to trash a room ala Citizen Kane style. I'm glad the song God Forbid is a good song. Even though it's not really a tribute to the now sadly defunct band, I'm glad it's something that people would like if they stumbled upon this while searching for God Forbid or go check out God Forbid from this song. Also, Marios inserts his band's name into Embrace The Nightrage and thankfully, it too is worthy of the band's name! The highlights on this particular number are the guitar harmony packed choruses, and that smooth guitar solo. It's another plus for Wolf To Man that they don't have a neoclassical sweep wanker in the band. Guitar solos are furious but without sounding like cyborgs bleeping and blooping each other in a ditch. Also, I would like to point out that the quality of this album is upheld the whole duration. From the gorgeous strains of lead guitar that open up Starless Night (when the drums kicked in I died) to the sweet acoustic outro instrumental Lytrosis there aren't any skippable songs. Real quick, a playlist of all of the acoustic instrumentals Nightrage have done would be a really cool listen. If that were somehow the only thing somebody heard of the band, they'd have a stroke upon hearing the metal portion of the band. If I had to come up with something to complain about, it would be that alot of the choruses slow down to a similar tempo. Not all, but many. To be fair, this is probably something not many people would notice consciously until several playthroughs. While I do understand it's "part of the style," songs like Embrace The Nightrage show the band can write a chorus that is busy with guitars, fast tempo, and still be a punch to the gut as well as interesting.

While Nightrage is pretty much Marios' vision, he has a really excellent crew to work with right now. The new drummer and bassist are real young guys who seem to be genuinely excited and happy playing this style of music and at this level of intensity. Ronnie's vocals have always been great for the band. He does have a more hardcore slant to his screams than Antony or Tomas did, but that just makes him stand out. Seeing as how this is the first album the band has released where the singer has stayed for three albums in a row, hopefully he sticks around for some more. I have nothing but praise for the glorious musical plate of steak that is Wolf To Man. However, since Nightrage have such an overall strong and reliable catalog, it's not like Wolf To Man stands head and shoulders above the rest. It does fit in very nicely with the rest of their discography and anyone who likes this music at all will really dig this here melodeath.

Killing Songs :
Starless Night, Embrace The Nightrage, Wolf To Man, God Forbid, By Darkness Drawn
Ben quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Nightrage that we have reviewed:
Nightrage - Demo 2000 reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Nightrage - Insidious reviewed by Khelek and quoted 88 / 100
Nightrage - Wearing A Martyr's Crown reviewed by Khelek and quoted 87 / 100
Nightrage - A New Disease Is Born reviewed by Ben and quoted 84 / 100
Nightrage - Descent Into Chaos reviewed by Ben and quoted 82 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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