Call of the Black Winds

1. Black Winds Rising (prelude)
2. Stormwolves
3. Eremit
4. Black Fire
5. Naturgewalt
6. Heathen Rise
7. Never Will Fall
8. Die Nacht der Wölfe
9. The Last Farewell
10. Der Stahl in meinem Feinde
11. Call Of The Black Winds

Lokhi – Scream Vocals
Nortwin – Clean Vocals
Skaahl – Lead Guitars, Solo Guitars
Norgahd – Drums
Bahznar – Bass Guitars
Gvern – Keys
Ragnar – Rhythm Guitars, Solo Guitars

The Fangs of the Southern Death (2004)
The Herjan Trilogy (EP) (2004)
Bloody Tales of Disgraced Lands (2005)
A Pagan Storm (2007)
Determined Damnation (2009)

Produced, mixed and mastered by Markus Stock
Cover artwork by Ingo Tauer

Released 25/2-2011
Reviewed 23/2-2011


The German chanters are back with a new album, this time with a red cover. It was a positive thing when I saw the cover amongst the Massacre podcasts as it looked a lot better than the cover of the previous album which I did review, not very positively I might add as I did not like it very much. My main complaint that time was not the cover but the way the music and vocals interacted, for me these parts just mismatched and that is really not what you want in your music. I must admit though that I had not really expected anything at all from this band, just a better looking cover was reason enough to be more positive. However, since I work professionally and everything I threw the last review out the window and started on a blank page with this new offering. Below you can read what I found out about it.

Pagan Metal is what they all are speaking about when they promote this album. I say, sure it might be that, I know only of one other band that is called Pagan Metal and that is Cruachen and Wolfchant are a bit similar to their music so with that small amount of research I draw a climatologist conclusion that Pagan Metal sounds like that. One thing though: why is it not called Heathen Metal? Well, for me genres does not matter one bit at all, in my iPod there are three genres: pop, rock and podcast, the latter is there because much promotional records come through podcasts. I care not for genres much and say that this is rock music, but if you want to move in closer it is extreme metal with folkish undertones, guitar driven, quite heavy but yet very melodic and with a mix of clean and growly vocals where the latter take a little more place in the music. So Melodic Extreme metal is what I would probably say and rock in my iPod.

It all starts with a rise to black winds in Black Winds Rising which is an intro song that is instrumental and very non-metallic and leads into the first real track which goes by the name Stormwolves where we are presented to this new Wolfchant who are more heavy than they were on their previous album, at the same time they have a cleaner sound which probably is something that can be attributed to the new producer Markus Stock (no relation to James Stock of London Financial Times as far as I know) who has taken what he did producing The Vision Bleak and incorporated it to Wolfchant’s music. While we are at the subject of comparisons, I would say that Wolchant of today compared to the 2009 edition is a more mature one with more skills in songwriting and getting what is better out of their music. They are clearly better in most respects and what is most noticeable is that they write better songs now, the more heavy music fit better with the growling vocals and the harmony between the vocals and music is much better now. Getting back to Stormwolves, I would say that it is one of the best songs on the album.

I would say that on this album the best tracks linger at the last parts of it, the title track is one of my favourites on the album at it is the last track which ends in a good way. Then my very favourite track is called The Last Farewell and it is number nine of eleven on the album. This track is a calmer on with mainly clean vocals in contrast to the other tracks on the album and it also has a very good atmosphere which is created in the way it is sung along with the atmospherical elements that are in the background. A great song is it no matter how we look at it though.

Sure, there are other good tracks as well, like mentioned Stormwolves along with Eremit and Heathen Rise. These are surely good tracks but they are not in the same league as the ones towards the end but they add a lot to the overall positive picture I have of this record which comes in stark contrast to the record I reviewed about two years ago which did not receive the same positive response from me as this one. Maybe they listened to my remarks from my prior review, what do I know? What has happened to this album is that they have done much of what I asked for, like making it heavier and darker to fit the growling vocal style better than the positive power metalish music they had before, they also went for a song with more or less entirely clean vocals and the blend of vocal styles works much better on this album. Still I am no entirely sold on this as there are a few niggles I do not like. The main one of these is the length of the album, it is 55 minutes long and that is a bit too long for me if I am honest, I would have liked to have a few tracks axed away to make it even better. This length thing is also noticed even though the last tracks are the best which is a clear indication, I feel that this record is a bit long. 55 minutes is within the limit but just barely and I think the band loose a point for this extra time. I once had someone complain about me lowering ratings for records that are too long in my mind but as I said to that guy and now to you, it is a complete album we review not the songs as stand alone parts and the whole suffers when you wait for the end while listening to the record, when you feel that you want it to end it is a sure sign that you had enough no matter if it is good or not.

I raise my hat to Wolfchant for following up a quite bad album with a really good one which I think there is still quite a bit of room for improvement of their sound. They should improve what they have now and restrain themselves from making the album fifteen minutes too long and then we will have something really interesting to look forward to. In the meantime while waiting for this I’ll keep playing The Last Farewell along with the title track and also sometimes the first pair of tracks and this is why this review will not be my last farewell to this band.


Label - Massacre Records
Three similar bands - Elvenking/Agathodaimon/Cruachan
Recensent: Daniel Källmalm