Lord Volture and their second album Never Cry Wolf through no fault of their own started off with a big disadvantage for this review for the fact that classic rock/power metal vocals as employed by the band’s frontman and founder David Marcelis are like aural salt on this reviewer’s musical slug. The high pitched yells and squeals like fingernails down a chalk board on the ear especially with the even more distinct style of Marcelis with his often off key and fluctuating levels. So bear that in mind as the album which musically is very satisfying is examined here.
As mentioned the band started when Marcelis with strong influences from traditional heavy metal bands from the 70’s and 80’s started writing songs of his own after a decade of fronting bands like Methusalem and Conquestador. The subsequent recordings of these songs eventually became the Lord Volture debut album Beast Of Thunder. The album featured numerous guest guitarists including Jeff Waters from Annihilator and grabbed some firm acclaim. A live line-up was then pulled together using some of the best metal talent from the Netherlands to make Lord Volture a force on stage as well as in the studio. This group of musicians has forged a strong understanding and determination to deliver the best sound possible, the combined ability of Marcelis, his brother Paul (Up The Irons, Mercyful Fake) on guitar, fellow guitarist Leon Hermans (Burn, Up The Irons), bassist Simon Geurts (Mercyful Fake), and Frank Wintermans (Substance) on drums, creating in Never Cry Wolf a release that takes hold and rampages in the ear with rock essences to please and devour.
Containing eleven tracks to enflame the hearts of any power metal and classic rock fan the album uses and exploits all the welcome if obvious elements from metal/thrash bands of the likes of Judas Priest, Iced Earth through to Jag Panzer and Cage. This makes Never Cry Wolf not particularly hot on invention or innovation but ablaze with pulse racing and eager familiarity brought forth with a powerful intent and skill that cannot be denied or criticised. The ear may not be caught by surprise or stunned with unexpected shocks but it is fed some striking and deeply pleasing sounds and well written songs.
The first big notable thing straight from the opening and title track is the impressive and pulsating bass and mesmeric rhythms of Geurts. Each and every song is veined with his deep and hypnotic creative riffs to always grab attention and often snatch the glory from everyone else. In songs like ‘Celestrial Bodies Fall’, the intense and rampaging thrash of ‘Korgon’s Descent’, and the hard rock powered ‘Into The Lair Of A Lion’ he especially grabs the focus and it is no surprise these are the album’s best songs. This is in no way a one man band though with the guitars of Paul Marcelis and Hermans creating memorable riffs and melodic solos to warm all traditional metal hearts. Creative and unafraid to take tracks into harder metal areas alongside their classic rock influences the duo brings intrigue and infectious play to all the songs. With the instinctive and driving power of Winterman’s drums, musically the band gives everything a rock fan desires in a song and more.
The final track on the album ‘The Wolf At Your Door’ though not the best song is possibly the most creative. Starting with a predatory bassline and slow stalking riffs from guitars circling the ear sizing up their prey, the song quickly shifts into a chase as racing riffs gallop into and through the senses, once ‘caught’ the track explodes into a predictably layered song but those opening couple of minutes are glorious.
Musically Never Cry Wolf is impressive and deeply satisfying but let down by the vocal delivery and style, again note that this is a personal issue and I am sure far more will welcome Marcelis’ style with warm and open arms. The album is great and Lord Volture a band that deserves attention and for the music alone all who ignore or pass over Never Cry Wolf should be ashamed.