Guitar Wolf

Planet of the Wolves

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References to the Ramones, black leather jackets, covers ranging from the Oblivians to fellow Japanese travelers Teengenerate -- not to mention a ragged rip through the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" itself! -- all this makes it clear: Guitar Wolf doesn't seek to mess around. And the band doesn't -- Planet of the Wolves lives up to both its and the band's name, right from the distorted, "up yours" explosive start, "Kawasaki ZII750 Rock'n'Roll." Like the best bands that keep it simple when it comes to their garage punk approach, there's just that little something extra to make everything truly great -- in this case, vocal and musical delivery that makes perfect sense from the land of the Boredoms. To mention Teengenerate again -- that band sounded like a classic combo firing up and letting fly on all fours, where Guitar Wolf sounds like a band of aliens shocking themselves every time they touch their instruments. Seiji in particular is just plain nuts, either screeching like his soul is being ripped from his body or playing guitar that demands instant attention under threat of death. Not that the Billy/Toru rhythm section is any slouch, clattering and rumbling along with just as much frenetic energy. The freaky drumming and crumbling noise on the instrumental title track (not to mention some great wolfman howls) is one thing, the utter rampages captured on "Far East Man" and the strutting burn through Link Wray's "Rumble" another. The murky fidelity on the album doesn't sound like a gimmick so much as it does a necessary shield for the music to keep from committing direct assault on one's bodily person. Anyone who loved the Scandinavian trash/garage/glam explosion of the '90s needs this album like a heroin addict needs horse -- except this is a lot cheaper.

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