Being hailed by many media outlets as the "next Led Zeppelin," Wolfmother has some large shoes to fill. And I have to tell you, I'm so tired of hearing about the "next Led Zeppelin" let's just lay all that to rest right now. I don't want the next Zeppelin. I want a kick ass band that is talented and honest in their approach. What I would like to hear from Wolfmother, is Wolfmother.
What I know about this band is this: They are a three piece unit from Australia, and their singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale looks like the second coming of Noel Redding complete with bushy sideburns and a loose-curled afro. I've also heard that these guys are going to take the world by storm, but how many times have I heard that about a band?
So, that's all folks. That's all I know. So join me, won't you? Let's see what all the talk is about.
Track 1: "Dimension" Already, we have a bizarre start to the disc. Singer Andrew Stockdale kicks off the disc with a high-pitched squeal that sent my neighbor's cat into an early heat cycle. This is very cool. Big, fat, fuzzy bass sound, with a steady smacking of the snare drum. Zeppelin, I don't know, but on this one they sound very similar to their fellow countrymen Jet to me. It's got that kind of Stones attitude and swagger to it. Oh&.wait&.what is this?!! A deep, slowed down tempo that hits like a ton of bricks when it ushers in the chorus. "Purple haze is in the sky&.," Stockdale wails with, admittedly, a Plant-like tone. This is a really effective tempo change that makes the song that much more interesting. Fantastic song. RATING: 9
Track 2: "White Unicorn" An easy guitar strum plays as a great accompaniment to Stockdale and his electrifying voice. A nice, cool and easy groove. WHOA! The hammer comes down! This is a Black Sabbath-influenced explosion of heaviness, ladies and gents. As the band reverts back to the cool and easy groove, they return to finish punishing you with the brutally beautiful heaviness of the chorus section again. As they go into a quiet, spaced out, 70's-influenced instrumental bridge, they creep out of it to hammer you one more time before the song ends. This song is a masterpiece. Not since the majesty of Black Sabbath have I heard something equally as heavy that stays true, honest, and genuine. RATING: 10
Track 3: "Woman" Again, we get a Sabbath style of heaviness, with a Robert Plant vocal range. A fast-paced steady rocker that has a kind of boogie-woogie swagger to it. They even throw in a Deep Purple-type of organ solo in the middle of the song. This is another quick hitting song that only lasts just under three minutes, and leaves your ears lying in the ruins when it ends. Nice. RATING: 9
Track 4: "Where Eagles Have Been" A beautiful, almost Beatles-like lilt to Stockdale's voice in the beginning of this one. A sound that is also reminiscent of a Zeppelin song like "Thank You." As the song starts picking up pace, Stockdale gets stronger and stronger. As the song gets set for a big finale, there is a great vintage sounding organ part that leads into a rousing guitar solo and skin bashing festival. The song settles down once again and slowly fades away. RATING: 7
Track 5: "Apple Tree" We get another fast paced Jet-type of punk song. Stockdale's voice is heard through some distortion effects here, and it works quite well. The band once again goes into a slow paced Sabbath style of deep and menacing heaviness. All of this gives way to a distorted guitar solo that finishes off another quick strike rocker. RATING: 7
Track 6: "Joker & the Thief" Ooh baby, what a great guitar riff to start this one! The drums go thumping along in a rising crescendo type of way, along with the organ adding the perfect tension. Then it all stops for a relentless, pulsing guitar chord rhythm. Stockdale starts his bellowing, which slightly resembles that of Jack White of White Stripes, and the full dynamic of the band swirls behind him. Before this one reaches its end there is a feedback frenzied guitar piece, not unlike something that might come from Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, which fits the song perfectly. What an incredible sound these guys have. This is another unbelievable track. RATING: 10
Track 7: "Colossal" A deep stalking heavy rhythm starts to march in the beginning of this one. All hail Wolfmother! This is a dream come true. Imagine the dark steady heaviness of Sabbath being fronted by a high-pitched Robert Plant-type of voice. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. A catchy-as-hell refrain rounds out this perfect song and, as the stalking gloom slows almost to a complete stop, all you can do is listen in amazement. Unbelievable. RATING: 10
Track 8: "Mind's Eye" A soft, atmospheric beginning with a steady tempo. More great vocals go from easy to intense and emotional, with a powerful organ hum backing it all up beautifully. The slow verse to rousing chorus routine continues until we get to a bright keyboard riff which sounds a little like an ode to ELP. The uplifting chorus then peaks and ends this great song. RATING: 9
Track 9: "Pyramid" Urghhhhh&..a mean and nasty distorted guitar growls to allow for a galloping bass line, which is then joined by a singing, hypnotic guitar part. This soon turns into a fuzzy bludgeoning, very reminiscent of a Blue Cheer-type of distorted attack. The roar subsides to let the verses be heard, but continues its attack like a cat pouncing on its prey whenever it gets the chance. The song seems to run a bit long without much change, but is still powerful. RATING: 7
Track 10: "Witchcraft" Another Zep-like song that relies mostly on a rhythm groove and powerful vocals. The addition of a couple of 20-second, Ian Anderson-style flute solos toward the end of the song makes the somewhat tiring groove repetition that's laid down a little more interesting. RATING: 6
Track 11: "Tales" Wow. The soft, lilting vocal that screams "Lennon" has returned. We get a dreamy melody that eventually leads to a charged up guitar riff and a catchy chorus. It ends up with a very 60's sound, with great buildup and vocals that are really effective. RATING: 8
Track 12: "Love Train" A "Sympathy For The Devil" conga beat starts the song, but is quickly cut short by a huge fuzzy groove. The funk groove and the Robert Plant-sings-Prince style of squealing vocal make for a very unusual song for this record. We get a great Jon Lord-inspired keyboard segment, which I wish was a bit longer, toward the middle of the song too. This is a cool cat. RATING: 8
Track 13: "Vagabond" A Folky, foot stomping song, not unlike something Zeppelin might have done. Plays as a very simple song, maybe a little too simple, but it also closes the album nicely too. RATING: 6
OVERALL RATING: 9 IT'S ALIVE, AND IT'S A MONSTER!!
Oh my. The next Zeppelin? I can see why they bill these guys as that, but they are so much more than just a copycat Zep. Wolfmother is the real deal, and this album has some of the best songs I've heard in decades. If you've always wanted to hear Robert Plant front Black Sabbath, this album is right up your alley. But, please, don't pigeonhole Wolfmother as the next Led Zeppelin. This is Wolfmother nothing more&and definitely nothing less.
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