Black Wolf – The Hunt

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Self-release

Review by Rick Ossian

Black Wolf are a bunch of young firebrands from Bristol.  They sound like middle America in the middle 70’s, if you ask me.  Surprised?  By now, not likely, especially if you know the kind of stuff I tend to review!  They are currently on tour with The Answer, who I hope have a bag chock FULL of rock and roll tricks if they are going to follow these gents on stage every night.  They will need to be on top form to even hope for a chance of eclipsing them each night.  Well, that’s rock and roll for you.  Oddly enough, they SOUND a lot like The Answer in spots — regularly, in fact.

Take the opener, for instance. Mr. Maker is a slice of hard/classic rock swagger (á la Black Crowes) with a sweet guitar solo at the end.  Keep Movin’ On is more Southern boogie, a bit Mötley Crüe-esque at times.  Another guitar solo at about 2:30.  Moving Mountains seems to be another heavy-duty boogie, only this time coming from the point of view of a man of the cloth.  It is good stuff, and includes wah-soaked fills (1:40) and a lovely guitar solo (2:10), followed in short order by some tasty bass licks (2:30).

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Faith In Me is clear at the other end of the spectrum, but is good nonetheless.  It features a strummy intro, some VERY cool bass work.  Is it a ballad?  Not really, but sort of – it has a downhome feel, let’s put it that way.  Trouble finds us back in the thick of things again, this time with a balls-out, riffy, punchy driver of a tune!  They get a lot done in this number.  This is a heavy boogie number, and again conjures up visions of the boys from The Answer peeping from the side of the stage to keep an eye on their competition.  Again, another lovely guitar solo (2:20) is contained within.

Only Said In Silence has another ballad-style intro, with a wicked guitar solo from about 3:40-4:30.  These boys are just full of piss and vinegar, and the orneriness lasts pretty much throughout the entire recording.  House of Emerald Wine is another full-tilt boogie, with a way cool main riff, and some noteworthy guitar work as well ( solo @ 2-minute mark, a breakdown of sorts, then another guitar solo at 2:45!).  Raised on the Sun is another Southern-style boogie rock blues, It features plenty of good riffing, particularly excellent vocals, and a shift (3:10) that may surprise you.

Black Hole Friend is more boogie – the classic, soulful rock sound just rolls out of these cats like it’s naturally born of their blood!  How, you might ask?  Surely it had something to do with older siblings’ record collections, or some such passing-of-the-torch nonsense, right?  We may never know.  All I know is I LIKE IT!  This is more classic hard rock than straight-ahead heavy metal, though.  Anyone coming on board expecting to hear metal MAY be slightly disappointed.  However, if you dig the proto-metal we all keep hearing so much about, then Black Wolf may be right up your alley!  The drummer gets busy here, and the guitars are positively shredding (guitar solo(s) at 2:00 and again at 2:20).

Let’s put some names to the faces/instruments, then, shall we?  Scott Sharp is the one Cormac Neeson needs to keep his eye on, as he is the vocalist that could have lifted some of his lovely licks straight from The Answer’s output.  His confidants in crime are Jason Cronin (rhythm guitar), John Greenhill (lead guitar), Ben Webb (bass) and Thomas Lennox-Brown (drums).  They could have been the backing band for any one of a myriad of your 70’s faves (Thin Lizzy, Foghat and Blue Cheer come to mind).

Dragging Ghosts includes a wailing intro and more back-slapping boogie with the boys.  This is extremely bluesy stuff.  There is a mellow breakdown about 2:40, then back into the blues!  Relief features a drum intro, then guitar sneaks in and wallops us upside the head!  This is heavier, almost even metallic at times.  There is a wickedly good guitar solo at 3:00, then another at 3:40.  Cool fade out, as well.

Sleepwalking has a fingerpicking intro, and a guitar solo at 2:55.  It is a great tune, though a bit mellower than the rest of the tracks here.  Sea of Mercy is another excellent riff and bass number.  There you have 13 pretty solid tracks, then, with only a bit of slowing down/letting up here and there.  Surely worthy of a few stars…

****/5

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