Evil Star

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Wolf has taken the music of '80s heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and boiled it down to its essentials to produce a fast, loud, driving sound. From the high-pitched vocals to the effectively simple guitar solos, the band has got its formula down pat. Admittedly, the formula does get a bit repetitious by the end of the album because of the lack of adornment or variation -- there are no wimpy ballads, ponderous dirges or experimental excursions here -- and the band doesn't have much emotional nuance or range; basically, they rock, rock, and then rock some more. Also, some of the guitar solos run a bit long, which pushes three songs over the six-minute mark. But it's still an exciting formula and you're likely to enjoy this album if you're a fan of '80s metal. In addition to the nine original songs, the album concludes with a cover version of Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (which demonstrates that vocalist Nicklas Olsson doesn't sound very spooky) and two bonus tracks: covers of Slayer's "Die by the Sword" and the Ramones' "I'm Not Afraid of Life."

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