August 28th, 2012
Release length: 8:08
In keeping with the revivalist tradition, Street Wolf carries a bit of an analog sound that captures the spirit of the eighties, but is still rather crisp for that time. The clean singing stands out over the music at a louder level, while everything else seems pushed into the background. The guitars have little distortion used, coming off like any NWOBHM act from the vintage days with a little extra buzzing, and the bass isn’t quite that deep, but still loud enough to help keep the rhythm alive. The drums have a nice snap to the snares, cymbals that are crisp but can be drowned out by the rest of the kit, and the bass kicks have a nice deeper thud that does help to keep the recording grounded.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t really help the EP. While Street Wolf has a decent audio that does reflect the glory days of the style, the performance itself has a mix of energy and restraint. “Street Wolf,” for example, comes off as if the band is playing it safe, but at the same time still having some fun. The simpler Heavy Metal riffs are catchy as hell, especially in the chorus, but nothing really gets as grand as it may lead you to anticipate. This is especially apparent in the vocals that simply sound bored through most of the song, only showing a good deal of enthusiasm when the pace slows down to what seems to be harmonized narration, and layered howling. But, even though it is rather bland, you can still tell he’s having fun with it, and that does help in the long run. “Red Light Woman” is a little slower and, while sounding clean, tries to incorporate a dirty Hard Rock atmosphere. Again, the vocals sound horribly bored, especially the deeper ones in the background, but the leads sound a little more energetic. Musically, there is a little restraint, but it’s to be expected this time around, hurt only by the lack of impact due to the instruments being so quiet and muffled. Had they been a little louder, this would have been a great song, which is evidenced by the guitar solo that breathes a little into the mix.
While there are positive things to say about Street Wolf, there’s just as many negative. There’s not much that stands out as impressive on this recording, though the music is actually enjoyable despite the lack of bite and even enthusiasm. The fact that it seems the band is having fun while clearly playing it safe does make things a bit more approachable, giving extra potential to repeat spins. However, there’s no denying the low volume in the music does hurt the EP overall, and given how loud the vocals are in comparison, this just seems to be nothing more than a glorified ego boost for Satanic Tyrant Werwolf (or whoever happens to handle vocal duties here). With a little more enthusiasm, and some regulation to the levels on the instruments, Heavy Cross could be something more than just an underground niche band playing it safe. But, until then, Street Wolf stands as a clear tribute to the early days of Heavy Metal, but not one that really helps to revive the classic sound of yesterday.
01. Streetwolf – 4:38
02. Red Light Woman – 3:30
|Overall Score: 5.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Hells Headbangers.