Lonewolf – Cult Of Steel (2015) – Power metallers Lonewolf are back with a brand new album and a heavy similarity to Blind Guardian, just as was featured on the last one. But that’s no problem, as no one seems to emulate the German legends as well as these gentlemen and they even make it sound much better than the original have been able to for several years now. Make no mistake, this is a rather chunky record with quite a few hefty cuts (Werewolf Rebellion 6:15, Mysterium Fidei 6:06) but it doesn’t leave you feeling bored, nor is it composed of monotonous filler. Rather, this sounds just like any good power metal album should and it’s literally jam-packed with awesome guitar solos, powerful melodies and wonderful vocal bouts from the Hansi Kursch loving frontman. Keyboards are even featured on the release, which certainly add to the atmosphere and make the songs stick out more than they would if they had just been metal based from the beginning. Though I’d be a fool to tell you that the band weren’t busting their ass this time and Cult Of Steel has to be one of the best records I’ve ever heard from them. So far, this is the definitive Lonewolf record so far and I think it really sets the stage for them. The vocal approach might be a bit grainier than some would prefer, but if you ignore that and really soak the record in, you’ll find a great work of an album with all the proper elements and structures that should exist in this type of metal. People might go nuts over Dragonforce, but I think it’s bands like Lonewolf that really seem to keep the true spirit of what power metal is supposed to be. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this one, which made its awesomeness even more of a surprise. There’s always some ironing out that they could do here and there, but such a well-crafted album as this should certainly get high praise even though I’m sure the popular metal magazines will give it a much lower score than it really deserves. In fact, I’m almost certain that Decibel is probably going to give it a 6 or a 7 and that’s why I feel comfortable with my 8. An 8 to me is a good album and that is exactly what this is. As a matter of fact, I seem to like this one so much that I’ve given it an extra half-point. I think you’ll feel the same during the listen and hopefully your personal grade will be even higher. I’ll say it once again; Lonewolf really busted their asses this time around and let’s hope that the world noticed. This is how power metal sounds; it’s just as simple as that.
(12 Tracks, 59:00)