WOLFPAKK – Wolfpakk (2011)
Michael Voss (Ex-Casanova, Mad Max) and and Mark Sweeney (Ex-Crystal Ball) have known each other for a long time, always having in mind and discussion to start a project together one day.
Since Michael Voss was producer for Sweeney’s 2nd solo album in 2009, it has finally happened that the two found time for this collaboration; WOLFPAKK.
Written by the two, and performed by them alongside more than thirty guest musicians including legends Paul Di’Anno, Tony Martin, Jeff Scott Soto, Rob Rock, Mark Boals, Tim Ripper Owens, Tony Franklin, Mat Sinner, Neil Murray, Tommy Denander and more.
The combo sounds pretty cohesive and band-like for the most part, but some tracks simply don’t work.
After an ‘orchestral’ intro, opener “Sirens” is a faster double bass anthem rocker with an intense double-lead vocal by Sweeney / Voss. A cool track but to me sounds a bit forced.
Follower “Dark Horizons” is more authentic. This song has a classic European hard rock / metal mold with a 6/8 tempo and good, melodic guitars.
I can’t dig “Lost”. It’s a progressive-tinged hard-rock-sympho that goes nowhere. The addition of female vocals on the chorus is a mess.
Things get much better on the Accept-like “Slam Down The Hammer”. Here is where the band/duo sounds on full cylinders. Big chorus, great guitars, a groovy riff and the best Voss vocals on the entire recording.
“The Crow” has a Helloween vibe in the songwriting (specially the chorus) but the sound is more light and accessible. Fine song.
“Let Me Die” is one of the best tracks on offer. The opening brings the epic to mind immediately, this is a very classy euro metal song. Features many vocalists smoothly layered together and the atmosphere (including the dramatic narrative within its middle) is typically ’80s.
The other song that sold me on this recording is “Reptile’s Kiss”. Easily the most catchiest tune here, with all the good ingredients of the best Hard Rock era. I wonder why they don’t have penned more tracks like this one.
“Ride The Bullet” returns to the Accept pattern, and works really well. It’s a hot hard rocker with razor guitars and cool lyrics.
Last track “Wolfony” is a long semi-suite that brings all the metal-related genres together, although not all successfully. You have here blistering guitar solos, big cathedral keyboards sounds, epic choruses, double-bass drums and some high pitched vocals. Not bad, but Helloween has done this much better in the past.
“Wolfpakk” is a good project / album, with highs and lows.
It’s an ambitious recording from these talented musicians, I mean, not ground-breaking musically, but yes on the genre/style approach.
Sweeney, and particularly Voss, are well known for their melodic rock pedigree, and here, both have tried something different.
“Wolfpakk” is basically euro hard ‘n heavy with some epic metal overtones, focused on a strong and powerful sound. As said, works for the most part, sometimes not.
The vocal guest list is impressive, but apart from Tony Martin on one track and the female singers on a couple, no other can be distinctively heard.
Production is only correct, strangely from Voss, known for his usually crisp material. Surely they wanted an edged aura to give the music a less polished sound, but for me, that isn’t a bonus.
“Wolfpakk” is not always successful, but when it gets it right, it nails it in a good way. This is perhaps a disc where you’d pick the cream of the crop as individual tracks, not as a whole.
Anyway, give it a listen, and decide yourself.
01 – Sirens
02 – Dark Horizons
03 – Lost
04 – Slam Down The Hammer
05 – The Crow
06 – Wolfpup
07 – Let Me Die
08 – Reptile’s Kiss
09 – Ride The Bullet
10 – Wolfony
Michael Voss – vocals, guitar, lyrics, music, mixing, production
Mark Sweeney – vocals, lyrics, music, mixing, production
Paul Di’Anno (Ex-IRON MAIDEN)
Tony Martin (Ex-BLACK SABBATH),
Jeff Scott Soto (Ex-MALMSTEEN, TALISMAN)
Rob Rock (IMPELITTERI)
Mark Boals (Ex-MALMSTEEN)
Tim Ripper Owens (Ex-JUDAS PRIEST)
Paul Shortino (Ex-QUIET RIOT, ROUGH CUTT)
Mark Fox (Ex-SHAKRA)
Michaela Schober (TANZ DER VAMPIRE)
Jean-Marc Viller (CALLAWAY)
Tony Franklin (Ex-BLUE MURDER, ROBERT PLANT)
Mat Sinner (SINNER, PRIMAL FEAR)
Matthias Rethmann (Ex-LeeZ, SILVER)
Nils Middelhauve (XANDRIA)
Neil Murray (Ex-WHITESNAKE)
Barend Courbois (VENGEANCE)
Jgor Gianola (U.D.O.)
Andy Midgeley (POWER QUEST)
Ira Black (Ex-VICIOUS RUMOURS, LIZZY BORDEN)
Torsten Koehne (EDENS CURSE)
Doc Heyne (BISS)
Tommy Denander (RADIOACTIVE, PAUL STANLEY)
Nadja Kossinskaja (PETER MAFFAY)
Freddy Scherer (GOTTHARD)
Olaf Lenk (AT VANCE)
George Solonos (TOMMY LEE)
Alessandro DelVeccio (GLENN HUGHES, IAN PAICE)
Ferdy Doernberg (AXEL RUDI PELL, ROUGH SILK)
Drums: Gereon Homann (EAT THE GUN)
BUY IT !