Photo: Wolf’s new album is Shadowland. Image courtesy of the band / Provided by The Orchard with permission.
Niklas Stalvind, the vocalist, guitarist and overall creative force behind heavy metal band Wolf, hasn’t been sitting at home and doing nothing during the pandemic. Quite the contrary. The Swedish rocker decided to compose some original songs and head to the recording studio with his newly revitalized band. The result is the album shadowland, available now from Century Media.
“I thought I was writing for a solo project or something different from Wolf,” Stalvind said of the project’s debut. “I just wanted to create again, write something, so I wrote the song ‘Shadowland’ and a few other songs. …And all of a sudden we didn’t tour because of the pandemic, so we went home. And I showed the other guys the four songs that I had written. They liked it, and I realized that it was good Wolf material actually. We started there exactly a year to record it. It took a year to write the rest of the songs and record the whole thing, mix it and master it. It was a very easy journey for a Wolf album for me, the Wolf album easiest I’ve ever done, and I think the pandemic helped it.
Joining Stalvind in this iteration of Wolf are Simon Johansson (guitar), Pontus Egberg (bass) and Johan Koleberg (drums), according to the press notes. The guys got together at Johansson’s studio, and actually because so many bands had to cancel their session, they were left alone to create, create, create.
“So we had the studio all to ourselves, so it wasn’t a problem at all,” he said. “Actually, it was easier. …When I started listening to all the songs and demos we made, I had a few black flame atmosphere on this album. It could also be the spirit of the group. We had the same kind of fire we had when we made it the black flame, so it was the same energy. I felt something was connected to older days. I think this album contains a lot of Wolf’s previous albums and a lot of the latest ones as well, so I think it’s a good mix of everything Wolf has been for these 25 years.
Stalvind said it was strange to say “25 years” out loud. In some ways, this anniversary, which technically happened two years ago, feels like a long time, while in other ways it feels like it all only started yesterday. He remembers the mid-1990s when he wanted to play heavy metal; it was a time when few bands worked hard on their sound. It was the era of emerging emo, mainstream pop punk and the last days of grunge.
“It’s been a very bumpy road,” he said. “We’ve never had a straight line of success. There were many obstacles. We were young when we started the band, and now I’m approaching 50. So we had to buy a house, start a family [stage of life]. We did all that, and it’s not easy for everyone to be in a band. People have different careers, or they decided to leave the band because of life. I’m really grateful that there are still people who want to do this with me. I never thought about quitting.”
Stalvind first encountered heavy metal music at the age of 11 in the mid-1980s. He had recently changed classes and met some new friends who happened to be long-haired metalheads. They had a band and the metal scene in Sweden was starting to take off.
“Metal was big in Sweden at the time, and there were big gigs,” Stalvind said. “One of my first big gigs was Iron Maiden with WASP in 1986, and after that, I was blown away. It was like, this is my life now. It was a great time.”
At first, Wolf was called Wolverine, but Stalvind said not everyone in Sweden could pronounce the word. “We decided we needed to go for something simpler, and by then we had really written the first Wolf songs,” he said. “We felt like that was the music we were going to play, and Wolf was more of a fitting name for it – very simple, straightforward energy with no apologies. It was just Wolf.
By John Soltes / Editor / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
Wolf’s new album is Shadowland. Click on here for more information.