I was a late comer when it came to getting into kängpunk, I was first initiated into it by a bud way back in '89 with Asta Kask's "Aldrig en" album. Later, I found more Swedish D-beat bands like Anti-Cimex, Mob 47 and Disfear. But, as I moved abroad into the third world, I didn't really get the chance to be introduced to some of the newer bands coming out of Viking territory, Disfear's "A Brutal Sight of War" being the last, and that was because I happened to run into some Irish surf punks at a mysto left point in Michoacan who turned me on to some killer tunes. But, since getting back into the swing of things, I quickly discovered Wolfbrigade (as well as the earlier Wolfpack stuff) and was blown away by what I heard.
I was immediately struck dumb by albums like "A new Dawn Fades", "Lycanthro Punk", with Anti-Cimex's Jonsson on vocal duties, and was even more floored when I first listened to Micke growlin' on the newer albums "Progression/Regression", "In Darkness You Feel No Regrets" and "Prey to the World"!!
It was incredible, just imagine finding a band that kicks ass, without even realizing they had been around for 17 years! They had formed about the same time I moved into the jungles of Latin America, and here were these great tracks like "Powerpigs", "Roll the Dice", "Soul on Fire", "Global Lunacy", "This is Life", "Papercuts" "Outlaw Vagabond" and "Avgrundens Kant" which I had never heard before!! It had been years since I had felt this enthusiastic about listening to music. Why? Because this is how it used to be, you hear of 'em from word of mouth, each album tore it up, every song was a gem; it had the guitars of metal being driven with the beat of punk...it was Crust! Now, before you roll your eyes, you need to realize I've lived in a completely different world than many of you for longer than some of you have been alive, and since I had withdrawn myself from a life inundated by media of all types, you could say I was a bit "behind the times" so to speak.
I've had nothing but fun "catching up" because here, I am listening to yet another mind-blowing Wolfbrigade album through the ears of someone who hasn't become used to hearing the band since day one...and, I am overwhelmed!! You know, if you listen to a band long enough, it's like a frog sitting in a pot of water; as the temperature slowly rises, it notices no difference until it's sittin' on a plate next to a bowl of Gumbo in a New Orleans eatery. I can clearly hear how this band has progressed since their first EPs and "Damned" is nothing short of a magnum opus! The evolution of this band is incredible, the aggressive passion of early years is here but with the mastery of veteran rockers; Micke's vocals are just insane, gruff and angry, but clear as a bell, the guitar work of both Jocke and Erik (who have been with the band since the earliest years) crank out the jams with the technical finesse of metal and the twang of punk on every song...they can switch from some serious punk to, dare I say, thrash riffs and face melting leads on a dime! Dadde's amazing ability on the kit shows he can almost keep pace with the heartbeat of a hummingbird! Johan on the four string adds the icing to the cake with a power which, not only compliments the performance of the rest of the band, but also hooks the listener into the song; "Damned to Madness" is a great example of this. The band's music demonstrates how they have been able to flawlessly mesh all their varied musical influences into a sound which is 100% Wolfbrigade.
From the first track "Feed the Flames" until the last one "Peace of Mind", Wolfbrigade grabs you by the collar and drags you into the mosh. Each time it seems those fingers are loosening just a bit, and you think you can step out to take a breather along the wall with the spaghetti-armed lookers on, you are yanked right back into the fray with supreme power! "Slaves of Induction", "the Curse of Caine", "Ride the Steel" (Killer intro to this one), "Hurricane Veins", "Catch 22" (damn I love that thrashy crunch to the guitar), "Damned to Madness", and...and...ah, who the hell am I kidding? I can't pick out the highlights, the whole album dominates...it's that good!!
This album is a five star if I have ever reviewed one, it can easily appeal to a hardened veteran of the metal scene as much as any self-respecting couch-renting punk! It is simply, for lack of a better word, awesome!!