Wolf - 14/02/2009

WOLF is a heavy metal band from Örebro, Sweden and was formed in 1995 and to this day, the band has had only one goal: to make kick-ass, honest, grab-you-in-the-nuts heavy metal! After releasing their debut album, “Wolf” back in 2000, the band toured relentlessly and destroyed the major festivals, gaining them more and more followers and success. In 2002, the album “Black Wings” saw the light of day and songs like “Venom” and “Genocide” quickly became live favourites, and still are to this day. After touring with the likes of Saxon, Nocturnal Rites, Edguy and many more, WOLF set out to write and record the album that would set them apart from others in their genre by developing their own sound even further towards metallic excellence. The album “Evil Star”, was released in 2004 and with the title track, along with the video for “Wolf’s Blood,” the band grabbed the attention of metal media and die-hard heavy metal fans around the world.

In 2005, WOLF’s success gained the interest of Century Media Records who released the 2006 album “The Black Flame”. In support of this new effort, WOLF hit the road with the likes of The Haunted, Trivium and Municipal Waste among others, as well as conquering some festivals. Line-up changes caused a slight set back for the band late 2007, but after recruiting Anders “Tornado” Modd on bass and Richard “Raptor” Holmgren on drums alongside members Johannes “Axe” Axeman on guitar and backing vocals and Niklas “Viper” Stålvind on guitar and lead vocals, the band’s desire for pure metal exploded with refueled energy and they started writing new songs and playing live shows again.


Now WOLF is ready to make metal history once again by recording the new album “Ravenous” with highly acclaimed producer Roy Z. Roy is known for his work with Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Helloween, Halford, Malmsteen and many more. The band immediately knew that he was the man for the job. Having Hank Shermann (Force of Evil, Mercyful Fate) and Marc Boals (ex-Malmsteen) make guest appearances on the album really adds to the flavour of what is a delicious buffet filled with true heavy metal carnage.



So it seems there is much to talk about and guitarist Johannes "Axe" Axeman was available to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com


Congratulations on your new album ‘Ravenous’ which will be released in a couple of weeks!


First of all, I’m not familiar with your band so could you tell me something about Wolf? Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the (new) members and the origin of the name of the band for our readers?


Johannes: We were originally called Wolverine, but changed to Wolf back in -95 since that looks more metal of course. We've released 5 albums and we've toured with bands like: Saxon, Edguy, The Haunted, Trivium, Pain, Municipal Waste, Nocturnal rites and more.  After ‘The Black Flame’ was released, we toured for the album and did alotta festivals around the world. After all that was done, Mikael (bass) & Tobias(drums) got tired of everything and left the band. New guys; Anders "Tornado" Modd stepped in on Bass and Richard "Raptor" Holmgren stepped in on drums. They are both Steelwinged Savage Reapers so they fit perfectly!


How did you launch into writing material for ‘Ravenous’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?


Johannes: A writing process always takes place. We record all our ideas in our studio (located at Niklas's place) and when the time is set to record the album we just jumpstart from there:-)



Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?


Johannes: To be honest, Heavy Metal comes pretty easy to us. Not trying to blow our own horn here, but that’s how it is. We've been into metal since we where kids you know. This is who we are. We immediately feel if the idea/song would fit Wolf and we save what’s good and chuck away what’s bad.


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Ravenous’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?


Johannes: We just wanted to show our fans and the people in the metal community that we're stronger than ever on this one. We wanted songs that would make you wanna hear them again and again and again. I mean, it's been 2,5 years since ‘The Black Flame’ and we felt it was time to blow that away!


What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you? Is there any typical way that a Wolf song comes into being?


Johannes: It all has its own life. You can write a riff and then it goes into a song, then you get the melody on top and then the lyrics. It's an amazing thing to see a song grow. All ingredients are equally important for a wolf song.


Who was responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics on this album and where do you get your inspiration from?


Johannes: Niklas is the main writer and after that it's me. I've done more on this album than ever before. Niklas is also the main lyric writer. In the end we all contribute to the song in our own way so we all get creds for it. Inspiration comes from sheer WILL to write good heavy metal songs. We love what we're doing and wouldn't wanna do it any other way.



What would you say are the main themes in your lyrics?


Johannes: The dark side of the human mind and the things that are locked behind closed doors....


What comes first, lyrics or melodies? Is it like you sit down and write a new song because you need more material now or do you wait until you get an idea?


Johannes: Melodies come first. As I said, we write constantly but the closer you get to a recording, the more it makes you kinda sit down and listen to your work again to determine what’s good enough and what’s not.


Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Ravenous’: what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?


Johannes: ‘Ravenous’ stands for the hunger we feel. We're predators that need to feed and the only way to do that is to get out there and blast heavy metal songs on a stage in front of our audience.


How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?


Johannes: It's up to them really. We're a heavy metal band. We're NOT the band that tells you what’s right or wrong, black or white, good or bad. We just wanna share the intesity of our songs with you. But we DO give our lyrics a lot of attention.


Can you tell me more about the guest appearances of Hank Shermann and Marc Boals on the album?


Johannes: They kick ASS! Hank laid down a lead solo for the title track and Mark sang background vocals for the song “Love At First Bite”. We thought that the song was good but after those two brilliant musicians gave their part, they just took on a life of their own. You can imagine me being nervous since I had to put down MY lead on the title track right after Mr Shermann...Being a fan just makes you a bit more nervous:-)


Do you have any favorites on ‘Ravenous’, songs that you think are somehow above the others?


Johannes: They all kick major ass. It's really too early to think too much about what song does what to you. We need to feel them while playing live.


Did you guys spend a fair amount of time working on the record before heading over to record the album? How much time did you spend in the studio for ‘Ravenous’?


Johannes: We spent one week pre-rehearsing With Roy Z and then about 3-4 weeks recording it.


The album was produced by Roy Z, what made him the perfect man for Wolf? 


Johannes: Because he wanted to. He sent us an e-mail asking to get involved and we made it happen. He came over and spent 5 weeks with us and really made us do our be(a)st. We couldn't be more satisfied!!!


In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?


Johannes: All of them I guess. You see, Roy is the kind of producer that captures "the band" and put THAT on tape. No production of his sounds alike. He really "melted" in with us and as he's been a fan of Wolf since years back, he knew what we were going for. And he managed to capture that with brilliance. We hope to be able to work with him again.


What do you think are the main differences between your previous album ‘The Black Flame’ and ‘Ravenous’?


Johannes: Too early to say at this stage. We have to "taste" Ravenous for a while.

Have you received any feedback on the album yet?


Johannes: Yes, we are overwhelmed by it. When you do your 5th album, people seem to be more "comfortable" with the music and that means that usually you don't get as much feedback but we're very surprised about all the great words so far.


Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?


Johannes:  Of course they are important. I'm a fan myself that goes to shows, buys albums, t-shirts and such so I know.


Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?


Johannes: We are VERY happy with them and we wouldn't wanna change anything. That's what’s so good about Wolf. We do it right from the start!


What do you think is the difference between Wolf and other bands in the heavy / power metal scene?


Johannes: We are honest and true to our music. We don’t do this for "show", this is who we are. We are crazy about heavy metal and will always be. Wolf is not here to "change or revolutionize" metal. We're here to celebrate and honor the feeling of heavy metal music.



What is your opinion on the heavy / power metal scene these days, what do you think about the overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the ‘metal’ scene?


Johannes: Well, the more the merrier right? The more bands - the more gigs.


What were the highlights and low points throughout your career?


Johannes: Highlights are all the great gigs we've done and all the great people we get a chance to meet and drink with. The lows are always when certain people take you for granted and expect something from you without giving anything back. We hate that.


Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?


Johannes: ‘Creatures of the Night’ by Kiss, Judas Priest ‘Defenders of the Faith’ and King Diamond’s ‘Them’.


What can we expect from Wolf in the near future, any touring plans?


Johannes: Yes, right now everything is in the planning stage though so we can't say anything yet. But we are gonna try and reach as many places as we can on the next tour.


Where do you see the band going within the next couple of years, and where do you see the band’s musical direction going for the next album?


Johannes: We're just gonna keep going really. We're gonna keep releasing good metal albums and make our mark in history.


Any last statement?


Johannes: The Wolf is loose and was last seen heading your way.


Thanks for your time!

Eugene Straver



Niklas Stålvind - vocals, guitar (1995-)

Johannes Losbäck - guitar, backing vocals (2005-)

Andrew G Modd - bass guitar (2007-)

Richard A Holmgren - drums (2008-)


Former members:

Henrik Y Johansson - guitar (1999-2000)

Johan Bülow - guitar (2000-2002)

Daniel Bergkvist - drums (1995-2005)

Mikael Goding - bass guitar (1995-2007)

Tobias Kellgren - drums (2005-2008)


Studio albums :

Wolf (April 2000)

Black Wings (January 2002)

Evil Star (February 2004)

The Black Flame (September 2006)

Ravenous (2009)