Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Review: Wolfram - No Redemption (2004)

Wolfram [ Website | MySpace ]
No Redemption
Leviathan Records

Technical thrashers Wolfram have been tearing up the Czech metal scene for over 20 years, beginning as a cover band slamming out tunes by Dio, Priest, and Saxon. Over time the band, led by guitarmeister Roman Krokus Kríz, forged out their own identity encompassing the distinctive aggression of the Bay Area thrash scene. An admirer of Megadeth's Marty Friedman, Roman has developed a style that is both crushing and progressive, giving Wolfram a highly technical sound without sacrificing pure headbanging fury. No Redemption is the band's fourth album and most technically diverse.

Overall, this album rumbles forward with distinctly crunchy guitars and catchy melodies. Singer Petr Doldy Dolének has a gritty voice that gives the music an extra dose of in your face aggression. Highlights abound throughout No Redemption, though Roman can be a bit too ambitious at times with his progressive flair. That doesn't happen often, however. What does happen often are songs like "Waiting", with lightning licks dancing atop purposeful riffs as drummer Petr Sanda keeps time with complex elegance. Sanda is as skilled on the kit as Roman is with the guitar, resulting in mindblowing beat patterns on each and every track. His prominent double-bass dominates again on "Flood" while Roman delivers an inspired solo and some interestingly scratchy licks. My favorite track of No Redemption is "King". The theme riff is catchy as hell, plain and simple. Throw in a few vocal hooks and the result is an infectious song perfect for a little recreational headbanging, complete with another roller-coaster solo from Roman.

Wolfram is a surprisingly skilled band that's put together quite a heavy thrash album in No Redemption. While nearly every track has staying power, there are some ("Better Life" in particular) where I felt the band was simply trying to do too much. The occasionally excessive use of prog metal elements creates a sense of disarray that detracts from the listenability of the album. Prog fans will undoubtedly disagree, of course. In any case, No Redemption is a solid, meaty album worth investigating.

Track Listing
1 Kama 0:30
2 Sutra 3:42
3 No Redemption 4:09
4 Flight 5:41
5 Waiting 5:57
6 Flood 5:39
7 King 4:10
8 Bitter Life 1:02
9 Better Life 5:22
10 Give Me Meat 5:29
11 Turn To The Shadows 6:59

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