Wolfcry - Nightbreed
Black Lotus Records
NWOBHM Power Melodic Metal
8 songs (51'12")
Release year: 2003
Black Lotus
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

To get my attention with a power metal album takes a lot these days. Somehow, in my early metal days, I overlistened to this genre, and that made me real picky about what I like and what I consider an also-run. In my modest opinion, it is very tough to stand out in this overpopulated field. Having said all this, I thoroughly enjoyed Nightbreed, the second album by the Greek almost newcomers Wolfcry. What do I mean by “almost” newcomers? The band was formed in1992 by the drummer Andreas “The Wizard” Kourtidis, but it was effectively dormant with the first album Power Within coming out only in 2001. Nightbreed is Wolfcry’s second offering, and I bet very few people heard of the band. I haven't heard Power Within which didn't get stellar reviews, and that left me totally unbiased towards Nightbreed.

So, why did I enjoy this album even if it offered nothing new? Because it is well done, and it showcases an excellent blend between old “dated” NWOBHM style and more modern melodic power metal leanings.

The opener Metamorphosis takes us about 10 years back to the Painkiller era Judas Priest and eerily reminds of Metal Meltdown song from that album with its chunky riffs, sung verses and screamed chorus lines (well, vocalist Costas Hatzigeorgiou is no Rob Halford, but more on this later). The album has several more galloping songs, seeing Wolfcry taking a riff or two from the Iced Earth trove. Guitarist Simos Kaggelaris pays a good tribute to Jon Schaffer with his chops on The Dying of Innocence. Of course, everybody knows how Iced Earth is popular in Greece. So much, that even their live album was recorded in Athens.

Vanguard and As Darkness … are slower tunes which are very reminiscent of the Manowar mid-tempo stomps. As soon as I had that vibe Costas tried Eric Adams-like screams, only to tell me he is no Eric Adams either. Vanguard, with its female backing vocals and keyboards is very epic, much more so than As Darkness … which has an exceptionally catchy chorus.

Just to reaffirm the Iced Earth influences the album ends with The Fable of Agnor trilogy (!). Semi-balladic first part An Orphan Child is spiced with female sung chorus symbolizing the forest fairies. Relatively short on text middle part is a “prophecy” on what Agnor would become. Iced Earth is remembered again with the chops of the instrumental part of The Wiseman. The story has the happy ending called Deliverance, even though some of its portions are quite introspective. Agnor finds a Golden Sword and becomes King of the World.

Nightbreed has quite a few excellent solos contributed by Elias Koskoris of the fellow Greek power metallers Dark Nova. Sometimes the solos are integrated into songs loosely creating an impression “we need a solo since we are a power metal band”. The quality and harmonic nature of the solos is undeniable, however.

The whole band is tight, sharp and precise. There is no doubt the musicians are not some rookies who got their instruments yesterday. The production emphasizes in your face guitar which is good since chops are a huge part of Wolfcry.

Finally, the vocals. Power metal bands are often made or broken by their frontmen. Costas Hatzigeorgiou is a good vocalist, don’t get me wrong. When he sings with his soulful middle range, he is excellent. Semi-balladic, but not cheesy, Endless Circle is a testament to that. The problem is he can’t sustain a note in the high range. That’s OK, just don’t go there, don’t try to emulate Mr. Halford and Mr. Adams, be yourself. Costas is a good fit for Wolfcry, especially as they continue to find what works for him best.

I used the word “dated” somewhere in the beginning of this review. In no way I meant that to be a negative. The whole album breathes nostalgia about the 80s, so the older fans can have some memories brought back to them.

Killing Songs :
Vanguard, Endless Circle, The Dying of Innocence
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Wolfcry that we have reviewed:
Wolfcry - Warfair reviewed by Mike and quoted 70 / 100
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