Wolfpack Unleashed
Anthems of Resistance

Austria’s contribution to the thrash revival, Wolfpack Unleashed (WPU) formed in 2005, released a demo, and quickly signed to Napalm. Though throwback thrash is a fitting tag, they don’t quite fit in the same ballpark as say Fueled by Fire or Warbringer. Instead, they seem to fit in nicely beside the likes of Sanctity or the newest offering from Trivium – the classic thrash riffing is there, but the production and guitar tones are very modern sounding, while vocalist Gunther Wirth (who also handles bass duties) tries his hand at the “let’s try to sound like James Hetfield” thing, but comes off sounding more like Trivium’s Matt Heafy (who also does the Hetfield imitation), if that makes any sense.

While WPU does sound similar to those two aforementioned bands, I must say they do it better, restricting the more pop-laden moments to a minimum, and replacing them with some, for lack of a better word, heavier elements. “Next Victim” is a good example of this, as the verse vocals are more in line with death metal, but alas the Hetfield impersonation re-appears in the chorus. They also drop the more straight ahead thrashing in favor of more of a Gothenburg riffing style here, which makes me think if they stuck to a similar formula more often, Anthems of Resistance would be an overall more enjoyable listen.

Musically, this isn’t a bad listen. As I stated before, the riffs are there for the most part, sometimes reminding of Testament, and there’s plenty of good solos, but the Hetfield impersonation becomes grating fast, and the inclusion of more sticky sweet elements pretty much ruins it, or at least makes it more easily forgettable. Thrash was not meant to be mass appealing or sticky sweet – it was meant to be mean, dirty, raw, gritty and nasty – something that is pretty much completely lost here.

In closing, what you get with Anthems of Resistance is a few good riffs and several cool solos fighting for air amid some so-so riffs and just plain bland (and sometimes terrible) vocals that pander to a wider audience. Maybe these guys need to lock themselves up with those old thrash albums that originally influenced them and study up (and maybe expand upon it without commercializing it), because what they’ve got here just doesn’t cut it for the more seasoned fans of thrash metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
November 24th, 2007

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