2018. What a year. Google it, and be prepared to be totally miserable at the state of the world back then, and yeah, it hasn’t got much better. What DID happen on the good side of things back then was a band called Dungeon Wolf released an utter cracker of an album called “Slavery or Steel,” and it made me very happy. For some reason, no matter how much I yelled from the lofty heights of my supposed wisdom far less people than should have failed to check it out. Basically put, from the cover to the excellent music contained within, “Slavery or Steel” put a very fucking large ‘M’ back into traditional Heavy Metal. Here is a quote from my review back then.
“To summarise, Dungeon Wolf is the type of music that needs to be played not in front of two hundred people, nay not even ten thousand. This is the type of stuff that should fill arena’s with like minded individuals who both fight the common fight of the people, and who have a true love for TRUE Heavy Metal. This isn’t Death Metal heavy, nor Black Metal heavy, not even any other type you may name. This, is HEAVY METAL, and it is as fine as it can ever be. Thank you Dungeon Wolf, you have put a very broad smile on an old mans face.“
And now, they are back. And as the album title suggests, Metal is well and truly back. But this time, they have decided to go even MORE Old School.. Is that even possible you may well ask? The answer is, a resounding FUCK YES! The change though in delivery, may shock you.. Have they become a Nu – Metal outfit and singer/guitarist Deryck Heignum decided to wear a mask like our old mate Corey Taylor? Have the other band members Darin Fitzpatrick (drums), and bass player Keene Fleck decided to dress as their favourite super heroes? Have they become all KVLT and started wearing face paint and burning down churches? No, I hate to disappoint, but they have not.
What they HAVE done, is go Analogue. What is Analogue you younglings may ask? Well, basically what us old fuckers had to listen to for years.. Yes, even the Dinosaurs and the mighty Greek Gods heard everything in Analogue, until some smart cunt came along and invented “Digital.” BUT, it was cool, and everything had a “warmth” and “immediacy” about it. It didn’t sound like a bunch of knob turning twits making shit sound like gold take after take (I see you Def Leppard, yes I do.)
So the change from “Slavery” to “Metal’s Back” is immediate, and in your face. Yep, it’s almost like having the fuckers playing RIGHT IN YOUR BEDROOM, right next to your bed, as you prepare for a good night’s sleep. You gonna get that sleep? I have a million tons of fuck no that says you are not! Now, I WILL not attempt to fight that and turn this into a snore fest of the highest order like, let’s say, the bits in the Lord of The Rings – “The Fellowship” one where we get bored to tears for hours reading about fucking Tom Bombafuckingdill (and what a dill he was) and the riveting and highly engaging bits with Elrond being a smug prick, and hear Sam Gamgee sook every eight seconds about “His Old Gaffer.” So, on that note, I will not review this “track by track.’
What we will start with is a certain song called “Bilbo Bagans,” because this sits perfectly with my narrative about Tolkien related fuckery, quite nicely. Yes, it is spelled wrong, for a very good reason. This, dear folks, is not exactly about the Hobbit you know and love, it is a twisted tale of a mind gone mad through drug abuse and whoredom. Did he actually ever find Smaug and the One True Ring in the lonely Mountain region, or was he just whacked of his dial on disco biscuits and imagine the whole thing. Was Gandalf playing Devil’s advocate and letting him think as much? The music itself is raw, fuzzy, and at times a bit clunky to be honest, but I challenge you to not walk around all day without it stuck in your head like an orc arrow in Boromir’s chest. Never has anything Hobbit related been so much fun.
“Beast Mode” tells us the tale of a Heavy Metal legend. Born of the unholy union of a woman and a wolf, he lives his life just like he fucking wants to, and who are we to question this. As the last lines of the song state, “The poet, the rock duality of man.” Does he speak of the internal conflict between wolf and man in his inner being? Did not Metallica write a song that stank so highly of a certain bloke named Jim that during drinking binges like to snort Cocaine off the corpses of dead baby birds? Perhaps both may be true, but this is as genuine as it gets. No fucking chartered flights and drinking beer out of a tall glass here. These lads bring a box of decent ale, some JD and a bucket of Marlboro Red right to the bedside, and even light that fucking ciggie for you!
The last song I will mention is this. Yes, the titular one, being “Metal’s Back.” One does not simply walk away from such words as “One was meant to restore the power of what once was, join me on my quest, penance to God above” without doing a little soul searching. Should we all not be on the path to to the ultimate glory of Metal above all? I also forgot “Worms of Arrakis.” Many have touched upon this subject (Dune), including Fat Boy Slim (who isn’t fat, or slim, and his name is Andrew, how dull.) Did any of them have such sick riffs? No. I rest my case.
To sum it all up, this will not be an easy listen for the “purist,” the “guitar wanker” that plays a seven string and also with his little cock at times. You will not hear the drummer outplay Chris Adler or that Hannes Grossman dude beating the living shite out of the drums at four hundred and sixty beats per minute, and you will NOT hear Cliff Burton on the bass. Yes, he is dead. I remember that day, and it was long ago. What you get here is genuine passion for a game that has become more and more ridiculous as it went on. You get a tape that you got from your sisters boyfriends weed dealer, that a bird shat on, and has a logo on it that was drawn in ink, and slightly smudged by the artist. You open your cassette player with trembling hands, hit play, and the magnificence of Heavy Metal takes away all of your pain..
Some of you may hate this album. For you it may be “too rough” or “too raw.” you may even question their talent, but to you groaners and whiners I say this. When was the last time you actually created something you believe in? When was the last time you actually got up and had a go without someone handing you something on a gilded platter? This is working class Metal, this is the backbone of what Metal is all about. That “Fuck it, I’m just gonna do it” attitude that was the basis for ALL the bands we know and love when they first decided to get off their collective arses and DO something. Yeah, this is the stuff your dear departed mother warned you about when you thought Dee Snider was cool.. It is infectious, and may well lead you to wanting MORE…
So, by now I guess you know I am a huge fan. I know who has Metals back, and they are back, and it is most certainly Dungeon Wolf. Long may they live, and bring us much more joy. Album release date is not solid yet, but when we know, you fucking shall too!
Rating – 5/5.