Lonewolf - The Heathen Dawn
Massacre Records
True Power Metal
13 songs (60'38")
Release year: 2016
Massacre Records
Reviewed by Alex

To ask French true power metal outfit Lonewolf to change their over-the-top in-your-face heavy metal style is similar to asking a tiger to change its stripes. Trite, old and tired expression, I know, but it fits Lonewolf to a tee. Most importantly, however, is not how I characterize their 8th full-length The Heathen Dawn, but that the music itself, in fact, does not start sounding dated.

Although my favorite by Lonewolf remains to be the first album I heard by them, The Fourth and Final Horseman, The Heathen Dawn is not without its successes and merit points. At this point in their career Lonewolf sound a little cleaner, with a higher quality sound, and deliver their anthems more confidently, yet on some level this is exactly why a tiny modicum of generics has crept in on The Heathen Dawn.

Don’t get me wrong, Lonewolf signature melodic riffing gallops garnished with ripping solos (Wolfsblut) with Jens Borner sounding like a much better aged Chris Boltendahl are easy to get into and enjoy for what they are. However, it seemed to me that a few times (Demon’s Fire, Rise to Victory) the band attempted to hide behind blistering double bass speed, sounding like heavier Helloween with gruff vocals, and forgot that the main attraction in its music are massive hooks. They need not to be hidden, stand out right there on the surface, be more folky, more Falconer-like (as on Keeper of the Underworld), and that’s when the solos come off better and the songs overall become more memorable. Speed alone is not the only culprit, as some pieces here are mid-pace (When the Angels Fall, Until the End), and riffs slash incessantly in a circular fashion (When the Angels Fall), yet choruses lack momentousness.

Good moments generally prevail. The heroic longing of the title track, sped up folky melody and easily wounded voice of Into the Blizzard provide for earnest perspective, while Wolfsblut and Keeper of the Underworld are veritable anchoring hits, yet at 11 songs + two bonus cuts from the digipack edition The Heathen Dawn seems somewhat overextended, with songs like Until the End and especially The Birth of a Nation sounding like easy-to-sacrifice filler. When the vocals are made centerpiece a la Accept (I Choose the Dark), the main hook prevails and solo sounds like a low-altitude eagle flight, then Lonewolf is hitting on all cylinders and is in its full element.

If you have been a lifelong fan and tend to attend every power metal festival where you happen to like every song by ever act, easily add 10 more points to this review.

Killing Songs :
Wolfsblut, Keeper of the Underworld, I Choose the Dark
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Lonewolf that we have reviewed:
Lonewolf - Cult of Steel reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Lonewolf - The Fourth and Final Horseman reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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