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Wolf

While Wolf was formed in Sweden in the mid-'90s, listening to their music might convince metal fans that they were some lost band from the glory days of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Clearly indebted to the sound and style of bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Diamond Head, Wolf's brand of metal is taut, speedy, aggressive, and full of dexterous dueling guitar work, with songs that are unafraid to sound epic and howling vocals from frontman Niklas Stålvind (aka Niklas Olsson). Their self-titled debut effort, first released in 1999, saw them displaying inspiration and technique right out of the gate, 2002's Black Wings and 2009's Ravenous marked the point where the group's attack was fully up to speed, and 2020's Feeding the Machine found them still ready to rock after a six-year break from recording. Founded in Örebro, Sweden in 1995, Wolf was the brainchild of lead singer and guitarist Niklas Stålvind, who on the group's early efforts would use the stage name Niklas Olsson. Working with bassist Mikael Goding and drummer Daniel Bergkvist, the nascent group played local gigs and recorded several demo tapes before one reached the ears of the staff at Prosthetic Records, an American metal label. Wolf recorded their self-titled debut for Prosthetic in 1999, and following its release, they expanded to a quartet, adding guitarist Henrik Johansson to beef up their sound on-stage. Johan Bülow would replace Johansson in 2001, in time to appear on their second full-length album, Black Wings. The same lineup appeared on 2004's Evil Star, while 2006's The Black Flame introduced a new drummer, Tobias Kellgren, as well as guitarist Johannes Axeman (aka Johannes Losback). The recording of 2009's Ravenous saw the debut of another edition of Wolf, with Stålvind and Axeman joined by bassist Anders Modd and drummer Richard Holmgren. All four musicians were still on board for 2011's Legions of Bastards, though guitarist Simon Johansson took over from Johannes Axeman when Wolf returned with 2014's Devil Seed. Various pursuits kept the band occupied for several years until Wolf regrouped and started work on 2020's Feeding the Machine. Once again, the album documented more personnel changes for the act -- Niklas Stålvind and Simon Johansson were joined by a new rhythm section, bassist Pontus Egberg (who'd previously worked with King Diamond) and drummer Johan Koleberg (a former member of Lion's Share and Therion).
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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