Wolfpakk - Rise of the Animal

Wolfpakk Rise of the Animal cover
Rise of the Animal
AFM Records
The duo of Mark Sweeney (Mark Sweeney, ex-Crystal Ball, ex-Cherry Pie) & Michael Voss (Mad Max, ex-Bonfire, ex-Casanova, ex-Demon Drive, ex-Silver) both respected singers and musicians, once again come together for the third installment of their common project, entitled Wolfpakk. This time they probably went overboard with guests, with an arm long list of people who are involved both guest vocalists and instrumentalists alike.
On vocals we’ve got Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic), Andi Deris (Helloween), Ted Poley (Danger Danger), Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow, ex-Malmsteen), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), David Reece (ex-Accept), Charlie Huhn (Ex-Gary Moore, Foghat), Don Dokken (Dokken), Marc Storace (Krokus), Michaela Schober (Tanz der Vampire), Jean-Marc Viller (Callaway), on bass Bob Daisley (ex-Gary Moore, Black Sabbath), Al Barrow (Magnum), Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian) also on guitars, along with Voss, Jeff Watson (Night Ranger), Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper), Bernie Torme (Ozzy Osbourne), John Norum (Europe), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio, Foreigner), Axel Rudi Pell (Axel Rudi Pell), Martin Rauber (Top4Tea), 2 keyboard players, namely Chris Ivo (ex-Jaded Heart) & Pablo Allen (Bagpipes from the band Skiltron) and last but not least on drums we have Mike Terrana (Tarja Turunen, ex-Rage, ex-Stratovarius), Mark Schulman (Billy Idol, Pink), Simon Philips (ex-Toto), Chris Slade (ex-AC/DC), Gereon Homann (Eat the gun) sharing the stool. Quite a list, I’m sure you’d agree which makes certain that the musicianship on the album is top notch.
On the spirited and defiant opener “Rider of the Storm”, Andi Deris and Terrana, rip it up in a melodic song that sounds like Helloween of the “darkest” albums, meet “Priest” or a heavier version of the Scorpions when they completely push the pedal to the metal. Quite a good song!
Sock It to Me” a standard rocker with a somewhat modernist production and a title which hardly makes any sense, sounds like the ravings of a pervert and features one Marc Storace of Krokus. Highly underwhelming and derivative song, that sounds like a bad rip off, from the more melodic moments of Grim Reapper to the point that it’s kinda, embarrassing really. This will not “rock you to hell”, no matter how hard you try.
Monkey on Your Back” is also sounding like it was ripped off, from U.D.O’s “Cut Me Out” albeit, more melodic and all. Too bad, (to quote the song) because Ted Poley, does a good job on it. Where ever he’s not buried under Voss or Sweeney.
Highlands” is probably where Pablo was utilized and it’s a half decent, epic rocker with Joe Lynn Turner, I’d tend to believe, who’s doing his best, easily putting Voss to same.
Black Wolf” has Rick Altzi, a Jorn look, sound and dress, a like, who’s quite talented, but it’s lyrics, made me scratch my head… if Judas Priest write some cheesy lyrics, these are downright rotten, cheesy ones and not even Altzi’s good performance, can help the song, from sounding tired... and just fucking odd… “Black Wolf… strong and athletic/fast and aesthetic??! Seriously, I got a line to add, Black wolf, my scrotum’s itching, BW-cause this shit ain’t bitchin!
Somewhere Beyond” is where David Reece shines, but it sounds like someone, just tried to rip off, a gamma ray song, with somewhat better vocals – figures. Both him and Voss have these gruff voice and that chorus, is “suspect”… very suspect.
Running out of Time” has one Don Dokken & Doug Aldrich and is finally, a song, that’s fairly good and worth quoting as memorable. Heck, Don, doesn’t sound too bad either… at least in the studio.
“Grizzly Man” features Charlie Huhn, and while melodically it’s fair, the lyrics, are against at the most toe curling.
“High Roller” surprisingly is free of guests, funkier and all about gambling and shit. It’s fair, and “on” topic...
Lastly there’s the eponymous song “Rise of the Animal” with none other than Michael Kiske, who’s a pleasure to listen to, doing some absolutely fine singing, but Voss’ grittier tone makes the whole thing sound a bit more like Primal Fear… it’s probably the best song of the album too...
It’s sad, that Sweeney and Voss, managed to only gather such an impressive cast of musicians, only to have them guest on the worst Wolfpakk effort. Hasty songs, unoriginal parts and borrowed melodies, lyrics that make you question your own IQ, for having purchased something with so bad, lyrics... and the guests, who are all doing their best, but cannot alone, save this round of the game, from being hopelessly mediocre… and you know what, check it out, I don’t want no mediocre (I know it’s grammatically incorrect – I’m just making fun of that douchebag rapper, that came up with that booty shaking number, about him doing “mediocre” – since the two negatives, would cancel each other out or “sumphing”…) hahaha… Bad Bitches and Bad Wolves, bro...