Rock Wolves - self/titled
Michael Voss - guitar, vocals
Herman Rarebell - drums
Stephan 'Gudze' Hinz - bass
1.) "Rock For The Nations" - It sounded like for this intro Michael overdubbed two different types of guitar effects playing the same rhythm. There was the main rhythm guitar that was done using a clean electric guitar, Then underneath the main rhythm it sounded like there was a second guitar rhythm that was done using the re-verb effect pedal. I'm not sure if this is the case or not however, that is what it sounded like. Halfway through the second measure of the intro Michael overdubbed a third rhythm guitar arrangement. This lasted up to the musical verse. For the musical verse Herman opted to use a tom-tom pattern for the drum line instead of a standard drum line. At the same time Herman kicks-in the tom-tom pattern Gudze kicks-in the bass line. On this song Mike's vocals have a Jon Bon Jovi sound to them. The musical chorus consisted of a arrangement change. After the musical verse Herman hit a huge snare crack. There was a musical rest connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. Over the top of the musical rest there was a lead and backing vocal line. There was a music arrangement change for the musical chorus. Herman switched to a standard drum line for the musical chorus. The vocal lines of the chorus consisted of a classic eighties hard rock hook. After the first chorus there was a very short breakdown section. There was a strange studio effect connecting the breakdown with the second verse. The second verse was a repeat of the first except for Herman's snare cracks. Herman is hitting the snare so hard that it is a wonder that he is not busting the snare heads. I am sure it was this way through the first and second chorus also however it was not until the third chorus could I hear the overdubbed second rhythm guitar. After the third chorus there was a second breakdown section. The way Michael arranged the backing vocals of the second breakdown section really shows his talent as a lyric arranger. After the breakdown the band slowed the arrangement down for one measure. The backing vocal accents of the coda reminded me a lot of early eighties Bon Jovi. This song did not contain a lead guitar solo. However, the hooks are so huge I feel that a lead guitar solo would have taken away from the song itself.After the coda there was a strange little keyboard effect. This keyboard effect did not make too much sense and was really out of place.
2.) "Surrounded By Fools " - This track consisted of a heavy metal blues intro. Over the top of the first measure there was a George Lynch influenced lead guitar lick. A lot like the stuff George was writing on Dokken's 'Back For The Attack' released on November 27, 1987. After the lead lick there was several cymbal crashes before the intro picked back up again. There was a couple lead guitar licks over the top of the last two measures of the intro. There was four cymbal crashes connecting the intro with the musical verse. The band used the same rhythm arrangement for the musical verse as the one they used for the intro. The only difference was Michael overdubbed a second rhythm guitar arrangement. This second guitar arrangement gave the verse a more full sound. Michael kept the Lynch influenced sound for the second guitar arrangement of the musical verse. One thing I noticed during the verse was when the band produced this song they turned Michael's mic down just a little too much. This aloud the music to be just a little over powering. The first and second lyric lines of the chorus was recorded with backing vocals. Michael played one Hell of a guitar riff in between the first and second lyric lines of the chorus. Musically, as a songwriter I know why Michael changed the second riff after the second lyric line. However, the first riff had such and used it again! There was a rhythm change for the musical chorus. The lyrics along with Michael's vocal range gave the chorus a very sweet hook. I didn't hear it on the first chorus however on the second chorus you can actually hear the music engineer turn the mics up. After the second chorus there was a breakdown section. For this breakdown section Herman played a tom-tom/snare drum pattern. The pattern he plays is a marching pattern. Over the top of Herman's tom-tom/snare pattern Michael plays several lead guitar notes. This breakdown section lead to a lead guitar solo.
3.) "Out Of Time" - This track opened with a single rhythm guitar riff before the main body of the intro kicked-in. The drum line of the intro for this song had a strange sound to it. At the end of the intro Michael and Herman play the same rhythm pattern. There was a short musical rest connecting the musical intro with the musical pre-verse. The musical pre-verse opened with a lead vocal. This lead vocal was done with a vocal effect. The musical verse consisted of a rhythm guitar change. Michael's vocals along with the musical arrangements of the pre-verse had a very intense feel to them. There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the pre-verse with the verse. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. There was an arrangement change for the short chorus. At times the vocal lines of the chorus has a Stryper sound to them. There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the first chrus with the second pre-verse. After the second chorus there was a short yet blistering lead guitar solo. This was a good song however, it would have been a whole lot better if whoever produced it had left the volume control on the mixing board alone.
4.) "What About Love" - Written by legendary songwriter Jim Vallance (who wrote songs for Aerosmith, Joan Jett and The Scorpions just to name a few) who wrote the song for the Canadian rock band Toronto in 1981. However it wasn't until June 1, 1985 when it was re-recorded by Seattle based rock band Heart.
5.) "The Blame Game" - This track opens with a very blues influenced rhythm guitar riff. The rhythm riff Michael played was very reminiscent in sound to Dave Meniketti's guitar sound. Underneath the first measure Herman's drum line consisted of just a hi-hat along with a bass drum pattern. Underneath the first lyric line of the second measure there was a cymbal crash. It is at this point when the main drum line along with the bass line kicks-in. After the second lyric line of the second measure of the verse there was a rhythm guitar change. This rhythm guitar change consisted of a nice musical hook. There was a small tom-tom fill along with a eighth-note musical rest that connected the musical verse with the musical chorus. The band kept the choruses very simple using the backing vocals for the hooks. There was a short tom fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse. After the first chorus the music arrangement repeated itself. The only difference between the first verse and the second was the drum and bass lines. Though simple the rhythm riff Michael played for the verses was amazing! After the second chorus underneath the music arrangement there was a huge tom-tom fill that lead to the lead guitar solo. After the lead guitar solo there was a very short breakdown section. Over the top of the breakdown section there was a lyric line. This lyric line was done with a vocal effect. Underneath the vocal accents of the coda there was a minor lead guitar solo.
6.) "Riding Shotgun" - This track opens with a drum fill. After the drum fill the musical arrangement kicks-in. Over the top of the musical arrangement Michael sings two sets of vocal accents. There was a small tom-tom fill that lead to a music arrangement change for the musical verse. The rhythm guitar of the musical verse consisted of several musical rests. The last guitar riff of the verse was changed just a little. It also had a heavier sound to it. I cannot tell if it was double-tracked or not however you can definitely tell that it had a heavier sound to it. There was a rhythm change for the musical chorus. Every now and then bleeding through the arrangement you can hear an acoustic guitar rhythm. For the second verse there was a complete rhythm arrangement change. This was just one example of just how great of a songwriter Michael Voss is. After the second chorus there was a rhythm arrangement change. During this rhythm change there was a section of music that just consisted of guitar. The coda consisted of a lead vocal line,
7.) "Nothings Gonna Bring Me Down" -This was a very well structured and thought out ballad! That once again shows Voss's songwriting ability.
8.) "The Lion Is Loose" - The intro to this track consisted of a rhythm guitar arrangement over the top of a Rarebell tom-tom pattern. In between the two arrangements there was a bass line. The band used the same rhythm for the verse as the one they used for the intro. For the pre-chorus the band added a second rhythm guitar arrangement. Not only was there a musical kick-in for the musical chorus however there also was an arrangement change. For the second verse Herman switched from a tom-tom pattern to a standard hi-hat rhythm. The lead guitar solo was over the top of the coda and was done with an effects pedal. I did not think the lead guitar solo fit this arrangement at all. The coda consisted of a chorus arrangement.
9.) "I Need Your Love" - In just a couple words this song was pure magic!!!!!
10.) "Lay With Me" - One of the things that made this ballad amazing was the ring tone Michael got out of his acoustic guitar. Songs like these are the reason I am a Michael Voss fan!!!!
Rock Wolves was conceived by Michael Voss and Herman Rarebell while the two was on tour with Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock in Autumn 2015. This new German power trio features three musicians with some 40 years of experience: drummer Hermann Rarebell (Michael Schenker, Ex-Scorpions), vocalist and guitarist Michael Voss (Mad Max, Michael Schenker), and bass player Stephan Hinz aka Gudze (H-Blockx). Their self-titled debut was released through SPV/Steamhammer Records on October 29, 2016. The release as nine original songs along with one cover song. The cover song is the Jim Vallance wrote "What About Love" that Heart made famous. Of course Rock Wolves version isn't nearly as good as Hearts however, it is a decent cover. As you might expect the nine original songs are extremely well crafted and make up a very well produced CD that offers up some very remember able classic songs that will be around for a very longtime! Throughout the CD you can hear references of many rock bands such as Bon Jovi, Europe, and Bad Company just to name a few. Once you hear the opening song "Rock For The Nations" it is very easy to see why they took this as the first single. Overall this was an amazing freshman release that I can see being heavily rotated everywhere except in the United States. This is a must have for all hard rock and heavy metal fans!!!!!