Wolf Spider [Poland]
Polmark/Metal Mind Productions (Reissue)
While in recent years Poland has been known more as the fertile land of aggressive black/death metal bands such as Infernal War and Behemoth, in the 80s saw the country’s fair share of other metal genres as well, such as technical thrash metallers Wolf Spider. The self-titled Wilczy pająk is the band’s debut full length album, originally released in 1987, just a short period after high-profile releases in the thrash metal arena such as the Bay Area bands and Teutonic bands.
All in good time too, as this gives Poland an opportunity to show off their brand of thrash metal, and as the album opens with Żądna ofiary twarz, influences from both Teutonic and Bay Area bands are immediately noticed, first with the chaotic riffs of Piotr and Maciej and the reckless extreme metal drumming style of Tomasz, reminiscent of bands such as Kreator. Vocalist Leszek’s style sounds like a cross between Metallica‘s James Hetfield and Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine at their peak, and this certainly appeals to fans of both bands.
Despite the comparisons, Wolf Spider attempts to inject their own elements, and they try to create a unique sound that they can call their own, such as the weird opening section on Nocny Strach, though what comes after that is the usual old-school thrash that one is used to. And moments such as these will be commonplace as the album progresses. For example, Momento Mori starts off sounding extremely epic and one would almost expect the band to break into a neo-classical shred segment after that nice build up, though what is present on the song after that still has an excellent result. Furthermore, longer songs like Momento Mori also display a strong Metallica influence, in terms of songwriting and song structure. There are also the more old-school heavy metal influences that can be heard in the music, such as on Upadek imperium, what with the anthemic chorus and melodic guitar lines.
Throughout the album, the lyrical delivery is also done in the band’s native Polish language, and this also helps to give the music of the band a unique sound, though the mood of the band clearly emanates through the music and the aggressive riffs, without the listener having to fully understand or comprehend the lyrics. But admittedly, this personally took quite a while to get used to, especially on songs like Momento Mori where there are clean(er) singing segments and things start to really sound foreign to me.
Admittedly, there is nothing particularly fresh or new about the music that Wolf Spider plays, but listening to an old school thrash metal band out of Poland is certainly a novel experience, and fortunately as well, Wilczy pająk is an extremely well-crafted album. If one likes blazing fast old school thrash, there is no way that one would not like Wilczy pająk.