Wolves, Wraiths and Witches

This is, apparently, album number 3 for these dudes – but it’s my first ride at the Mentor rodeo. I will say this: when I saw the excellent album cover of Wolves, Wraiths and Witches, I had a few preconceptions about what I’d find inside – that being some heavy, stonery-y doom metal project dripping with lyrics about witchcraft and dark magick and shit. Right?

WRONG. Dead wrong.

But I’m also really happy to be wrong! Nothing against Stoner/Doom Metal, but what Poland’s Mentor are delivering is just a friggin’ blast. For those like me new to the band, what we’ve got here is a killer mix of Eurothrash ala-Carnal Forge or Hatesphere, some definite hardcore backbone, a little bit of speed ‘n’ roll to kick the energy and good times up a tick or two. Also, I guess the band is all about this “List of 3” album title thing, their last two titled Guts, Graves and Blasphemy, and Cults, Crypts and Corpses. So uh, I guess Mentor definitely knows what they’re about.

“Equal in the Fire” kicks off the album heavy on the Eurothrash influence, with vocalist Wojciech Kałuża (known in the band as “King of Nothing”) really bringing former Hatesphere singer Jacob Bredahl to mind; a high energy, barking delivery that gives everything a little bit of that hardcore edge. One of the first things that stands out to me, and this is possibly my favorite part of this band, is the fantastic bass sound coming from Piotr Gruenpeter (aka “Gusion’s Drone”). This dude’s work ain’t buried in the mix one iota – instead providing a robust, deep compliment to the band’s sound that truly serves as the band’s backbone. All that aside, despite the song’s style being completely different than what I’d expected upon first glance, it’s a pretty straight-forward start to the album.

For me, it’s on second track, “Satan’s Snake-handlers,” that Wolves… really takes off. The band busts out some of those “’n’ roll” elements that just ooze with raucous fun, and I think finds the band in a real comfort zone. That theme continues with follow-up (and album highlight) “Fed After Midnight,” with it’s full-throttle Motorhead-meets-The Crown-inspired riffing taking you on a 150 mph thrill ride. The song ends on a good an nasty, if brief little heavy breakdown that really gets the head banging, and sets the table nicely for “The Great Grave in the Sky,” which shows the band at its heaviest. Once again, I’m reminded a lot of more hardcore-leaning bands like All Out War and Merauder on this track, with it’s bruising, more straightforward execution that is nonetheless super effective.

From that point on, the band mostly puts the pedal back on the floor with fun, fast and furious execution. “Creature Feature” and album closer “Sealed in a Tomb” raise copious hell with more thrashy efforts, culling no little influence from the likes of Slayer and, especially on the latter, really bringing that aforementioned All Out War-like influence back into play. “Dance of the Dead” and even the slower “Blood is Love” definitely lean back on the swagger-filled Motorhead wagon that just puts a smile in your face and a pair of raised horns on each hand.

The name Mentor certainly seems appropriate, as the band’s strength is definitely found in wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves. These are sounds you’ve no doubt heard before, but they’re sounds you love. Sounds that make this a really easy album to like. The subtle but effective tempo changes help keep the album moving at a brisk pace while keeping the affair from getting stale or overplayed. As a result, this is a really well-balanced album executed by a young, but clearly well-experienced and confident bunch who have a very clear idea of who they want to be as a band. For longtime fans of this band, Wolves, Wraiths and Witches is a welcome next chapter, and for new fans such as myself, there’s a ton of fun here to be found. I’m really glad I finally got around to these guys,

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
November 24th, 2021


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