The Wolves of Avalon - Die Hard - (8/10)
Published on September 16, 2015
The Wolves of Avalon is a side project formed by Metatron and Alan Davey of The Meads of Asphodel in 2011. The project has released two full length albums thus far, although Davey left the band sometime after releasing the debut album. Basically The Wolves of Avalon can be seen as Metatron harkening back to a sound familiar to The Meads of Asphodel’s earliest works with just a bit of extra folky, pagan-tinged flair. Surprisingly, with the attention that the Metatron’s main project has been receiving lately, The Wolves of Avalon has flown under the radar for many a metal fan.
The project’s debut album, Carrion Crows Over Camlan, released in 2011, and the sophomore, Boudicca’s Last Stand, released in 2014, both feature quite an array of guest musicians. Most of the guests played some type of folk instrument on the albums, aside from a notable appearance from Graveland’s Rob Darken on vocals. In the autumn of 2015, The Wolves of Avalon released a short two track seven inch through Eternal Death titled Die Hard, which features an original track, “Carrion Crows Reprise” and a cover of Venom’s classic “Die Hard”.
“Carrion Crows Reprise” is a fairly innocuous track, being a rearranged rerecorded piece, with laid back percussion and a slowly pulsing riffing style that allows Metatron’s trademark gravelly styled of spoken word verses growling vocals to take center stage. Harmonic guitar licks aim at lofty melodies while a barrage of heavy handed chords continue on. The music eventually settles into acoustic strumming and airy voices, threatening to leave the rather harsh wandering of the opening behind, ultimately unfolding back towards to the harmonic guitar licks and harsh vocals. While it does bring a glimpse of the band’s prior output, it sounds a bit flat without the folk instrumentation to supplement things.
Where Metatron and crew strike gold, though, is during their hellish rendition of “Die Hard”. The instrumentation pays homage to the original, thrashing about with reckless abandon. The percussion is a tad muffled, but those riffs and solos are razor sharp, offering a more modern production without sacrificing the acerbic edge of the original track. Sure, Venom covers are a dime a dozen, but The Wolves of Avalon bring a veritable who’s who of guest stars to push their version above and beyond a mere homage. Featuring guest spots by Rob Miller of Amebix, Mirai Kawashima of Sigh, Alan Averill of Primordial and none other than Mantas himself, this is a cover track that will be hard for any others to outdo.
The Wolves of Avalon may not have kicked up as much dust as Metatron’s full time project, but Die Hard is a freaking blast. The original track is a bit lacking, especially with the lack of folk instrumentation to push it forward, but the cover of “Die Hard” featuring some of the scene’s most prominent and storied figures makes up for the price of the release on its own. It’s a short seven inch with a so-so song and a cover track, but it’s well worth the asking price, so jump on this before it sells out.