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I can't find anything wrong with this. - 100%

Empyreal, April 15th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Iron Shield Records

In the 11 years between the last Seasons of the Wolf album and this new one, we've gone through a recession, an entire eight-year presidency and several other disasters and weird things, but Seasons of the Wolf thankfully have remained the same as they were before. Being that they recorded it pretty soon after their previous album, the fabulous Once in a Blue Moon, this basically sounds like a direct continuation, as if no time had passed – giving the whole thing a sort of time-traveling nature, befitting of the band's retro-but-fresh style of music.

These are just great songs. The riffs are crunchy and propulsive, the leads melodious and fluid, carrying the songs along in a Maidenesque manner, the keys gloriously spooky and retro and the vocals bellow out hook-laden lines with a real rage and energy. It's almost difficult to review this because there aren't any gimmicks to speak of. It's just plain good music, with every song memorable, different from the others and immediately enjoyable. On venomous, careening opener “Solar Flare,” the heavy attack of “Take Us to the Stars” or the anthemic “Drifter,” the band sounds aggressive and on-point. “No More Room in Hell” also deserves praise as a particular highlight, with its merciless, pummeling riff onslaught and roller-coaster-like slow-to-fast tempo change in the middle. One of the best fucking songs this band ever did. But honestly, I could write something good about every song on here, and different ones stick out whenever I play this.

This is more pugilistic and punchy than their last three albums, and actually reminds me a bit of their long-ago debut album with its shorter length and more direct approach. Though, don't take that to mean that they've stripped away the oddities and eccentricities of the sound; it's there in a more condensed form, with 70s-style trippiness bleeding through in between the aggressive parts, making for a well-rounded, colorful listen. Singer Wes Waddell departed the band during recording, and so guitarist Skully filled in on half of these songs. His voice is rougher and deeper than Wes's high, charismatic sneer, but it works and the album sounds coherent anyway.

There's just such a care and craftsmanship to these songs, with every note seeming to have been thought out very carefully and every song written tight and honed to perfection. The lyrics are fun and sync up with the music in a manner that makes it feel complete; the band knows what works for their sound and put work into every aspect of it, giving the album a real sense of completion and wholeness. And one thing I always liked about Seasons of the Wolf is that you can't really pick out any one influence to them – they've got a unique identity and a definite, original voice to every part of their sound.

If you want traditional metal, this is the album to beat so far in 2018, full of original, classic-styled riff wizardry and an honesty and soulful conviction that sets them apart with their own identity. Seasons of the Wolf is a goddamn gem and I can't wait to hear what they do next.