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Monster Wolf have released their studio album and of course we have to listen to it. Already in the summer of 2022 there was  with Monster Massacre the live EP, recorded in Austin, Texas (USA), which has impressed. There was plenty of advance praise for the album, but can Proelium keep what the band promises?

First of all, the title is quite promising. A hardcore formation that calls their album Proelium (lat. battle) probably has very clear goals.  Monster Wolf are usually very brutal, burning down the clubs they play in and guaranteeing neck pain. The werewolf demon midnight mood is clearly conveyed not least by the band members. Unfortunately, you could not yet experience them live in Germany, but that should finally change in 2023, because Monster Wolf fight for a place at the legendary Wacken Festival in August. Do they belong there? Well, let’s listen.

The album starts with the “Intro (back to  the  beginning)”. Gloomy wafting background music, interspersed with wolf howls and the deep voice of the bandleader makes the beginning. Unfortunately, it is not clear what is being said, but it is enough to understand that it is about Valhalla. So let’s keep the battle theme in mind. The first real song is an old acquaintance: “Lupin Skin Killer”. He was already heard on the live EP and really gets going. It’s fast, hard, with the right rhythm to headbang. If  you know singer John  Yurnet a bit, be it as a   musician or as a pro wrestler, you just have to close your eyes and immediately find yourself in the front row of a small club, dark atmosphere, the air a bit stuffy, it’s cramped, the location sold out and as soon as Monster Wolf get going and Yurnet  enters the microphone with a deep voice,  the wild headbanging  starts, you push each other, hold each other, form a small mosh pit and a mini wall of  death. “1791” begins a little quieter. We briefly recap: On November 4, 1791, the Indians celebrate their greatest victory against the US Army in the Battle of the Wabash River. That would actually be enough, we have the album title, we have the song title, we have the battle theme. But you quickly realize that it’s about something else, namely about walking dead, about the resurrection of them and we get a wonderful sing-along part: “Rise, rise  – it’s  alive!” The audience can go off superbly,  stretch the beer and the chip forks  towards the stage and generally swing with the rhythm in a slight delirium. Towards the end there is a beautiful guitar solo, bright, almost clinking, which   invites you  to play air guitar. The song ends with the legendary movie quote: “It’s alive, it’s alive Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!” from   Frankenstein from 1931.  We stick to quotes and go to the anime series Berserk, from which the beginning of “The Branded” originated.  In a voice  that is very reminiscent of the intro of Iron Maiden‘s “Number of the Beast”, but comes from the original series, it thunders threateningly: “Let us begin the chant of offering, stray from the path will not be granted the black wings that will carry you to the heavens. Fate has set you free from human reason and by providence embrace your inner evil, now stand and face your future.”  If you don’t know the series and don’t necessarily like manga, it’s worth reading the Wikipedia article . You will quickly realize that the berserk logo is very similar to   that  of Monster Wolf, especially .dem wrestling character  of Yumet . Back to the song, which goes straight into the full after this intro. Rich guitar sound shoots out of the speakers, the drums have their hands full, a huge piece of music that will definitely not leave hardcore fans cold. In terms  of Berserk, you have these relentless battle scenes in front of you, a bloody, moving image full of frenzy, dancing swords, bursting armor and the elevator of an army of  burnt markets. The caesura in the song seems like a pause in the fight scene, when it becomes quiet, you only perceive the carnage around you, look for a way out, the last move to victory, then everything seems to break out again when the hero pounces on the opposing leader… Honestly, “The Branded” tells a story, whether you understand the lyrics or not, the music alone draws the pictures in your mind’s eye. It’s far from over, the party has only just begun, a different impression comes from hell. “Lamia” begins again with a quote, apparently also from the series Berserk. But Lamia also comes from Greek mythology, she was a lover of Zeus, their child was killed by Hera, Lamia becomes a goddess of revenge and gets a snakehead, similar to Medusa, and likes to kill children. But Lamia also has an ability, namely she can take her eyes out. That’s enough for the next horror flick, right? What do  Monster Wolf  sing about it? A bit of thunderstorm, electric guitar, boom. Solid number, which could come from many big bands, here Monster Wolf do   everything right, good tempo, nice guitar solo in the middle, deep vocals, which you still understand, and a chorus that quickly catches the ear. You can dance to it and play the number super in any metal shed . More of it and your longplayers go away like the proverbial hot cakes. By the way, the hint of the disc, do not skimm, listen is mandatory. We already know “Proelium  (fight)” from the live record. At that time as a nice foretaste of the album, it is now the penultimate song, which immediately goes into the full. Fast, hard, again such a blatant Wall of  Death number. The conclusion of a much too short album is “Samhain”. Good number, short and sweet, fast, loud, brute, here everything is brought out again. 

Could Monster Wolf insist  on Wacken? Of course! They would do perfectly in the line-up, not as headliners, of course, but as good starters who would heat up the audience, increase beer consumption and already provide the first Walls of  Death. With Proelium, the  Mexicans show that they master the loud, brute tones very well, but also know how to be a little quieter and score with guitar solos. The stage show  – so much can be revealed – completes the picture perfectly. In itself, no hardcore and metal fan  should slide past Monster Wolf, but listen to the album at least once. It’s not perfect, admittedly, but that’s exactly what makes it special. You can tell  that Gdansk is a role model that has an influence on the rhythms and guitar work, but otherwise remains outside. In their wolf representation they resemble Powerwolf – and this is exactly where I would like to use again. If you take out the biblical themes and the trained classical singing of Powerwolf, make the rest a bit dirtier, faster and more brutal, you have a very good counterpart here. For Monster Wolf,  of course, this is still a long way and probably not quite the one they want to tread, but you can’t completely defend yourself against it. More correct would be the comparison with Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir – on speed. Let’s not talk it dead: Monster Wolf are a small, fine Mexican insider tip that needs a push and  could definitely insist on Wacken. We keep our fingers crossed for the W:O:A Metal Battle 2023 in Mexico and hope  to celebrate Monster Wolf in Germany this summer.


Monster Wolf – Proelium
Available on Spotify & Co.

Intro (back to
the beginning)
Lupin Skin Killer
The Branded
Proelium (fight)