In one of VH1’s more recent moments of hilarity, the network to end all list-making networks aired the “Top 40 Least Metal Moments,” which proposed forty instances of heavy metal being desecrated by bad taste, haircuts, baby clothes, country music and Republicans. It was amusing to hear Michael Bolton’s old band, BlackJack, and to see Metallica actually enjoying Avril Lavigne covering their song, “Fuel.” But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see many disheartened by Vince Neil doing the chicken dance, Ozzy Osbourne having dinner with George W. Bush or the existence of Europe, even if “The Final Countdown” makes great karaoke. But fear not, fans of all things heavy, for Wolfmother is here to vanquish all unholy deeds in the name of metal.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating. But as evident on their self-titled debut EP, Wolfmother is one seriously heavy band. This guitar-bass-drums trio takes it back to the old school, strictly sticking to the books of Zeppelin and Sabbath. Somehow, though they’re a very modern band, they sound as if they stepped out of 1971 and into a psychedelic, analog backdrop preserved from back in the day. Wolfmother will rock you, but not like the Scorpions and their 80-piece orchestra. They do it straightforward and heavy, with out the slightest air of pretense.
The Big Muff-heavy riffage of “Dimension” instantly reminds one of Iommi’s axe work on Paranoid, while vocalist Andrew Stockdale does his best Ozzy. In “Woman,” however, a spot-on Robert Plant imitation is vomited forth from the same diaphragm. And yet, somehow, “Apple Tree” sees him taking on Jack White, only in this song, there’s a damn bass player. But “The White Unicorn” is the real winner in this bunch, teetering back and forth between Jimmy Page-style riffs and full-on Kyuss stoner rock overdrive. It’s a seven-minute epic that probably doesn’t come close to the lengths of some of their heroes’ tunes, but it’s a long one all the same.
Wolfmother seem to be the most metal out there right now, spitting on Kiss’s disco album and burning copies of Celine Dion’s awful AC/DC cover recording. And at a slim three members, that’s no small feat. Wolfmother is short on time, but long on rock. How do you like that Rikki Rachtman?
Led Zeppelin – II
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.