Guitar Wolf – Golden Black (CD)

Guitar Wolf – Golden Black / 2005 Narnack / 26 Tracks / http://www.guitarwolf.net / http://www.narnackrecordings.com / Reviewed 28 November 2005

A mixture of traditional rock with a screamed-out set of vocals that parallel noise, Guitar Wolf comes out with music that will draw umpteen listeners to eir cause in the shortest possible amount of time. With forays into rockabilly and punk (especially present during tracks like “Missle Me”), a wide swath of listeners can find something to like about Guitar Wolf. Interestingly enough, the diverse range of sounds that are captured on an album like “Golden Black” are primarily created by guitar and vocals; while instruments like drums are present, they are not weighing on the disc in any meaningful way.

The simplistic, seventies-style of punk that is forwarded by “Rock ‘N’ Roll Etiquette” may have all the trappings of a Sex Pistols track, but seem to have a single-topic type of focus much like the fallen hero Wesley Willis. The mastering changes a little bit for the longer track “Wild Zero”; with reduced fuzz, individuals can finally hear a significant drum presence on the track. While it is true that the guitar distortion takes center stage on this track, just as it has throughout “Golden Black”, the persistence of the drums really adds another dimension to Guitar Wolf’s sound. Interestingly enough, the shorter tracks have Guitar Wolf in their strongest element. When the band decides to go into longer, more experimental tracks (such as in “Wild Zero” and “Loverock”) , the disc really tends to fall into a rut. Continual innovation really is what is needed for Guitar Wolf; the exact second that they feel that the track is turning stale, they should go and cut the track off at the knees.

This is what happens with the classic “Jet13”, which ties together rockabilly, a Misfits like tempo and a guitar haze like The Replacements for what has to be one of the strongest tracks on the CD. What is amazing about the music on this retrospective is how coherent of a sound that Guitar Wolf puts forth throughout; the recording and production levels may change throughout, but the sound that Guitar Wolf puts forth during “Can-Nana Fever” is almost the same as on “Summer Time Blues”. This compilation of Guitar Wolf hits is the perfect introduction to this veteran band, and really sets the stage for any future album that the band decides to release. Find a comfy place to lay for seventy-four minutes and rock out to this album.

Top Tracks: Mars Twist, Missle Me

Rating: 6.4/10

[JMcQ]

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