by John Kindred
Staff Writer –
Kilmara is a Spanish metal band that was formed in 2003. Originally named Jadde, the group’s original compositions were written in their native language. Kilmara soon added German vocalist Christian Wolfgang to its ranks and moved away from performing lyrics in Spanish to English to appeal to a broader market of fans. They released their first demo in ’04, titled The Deceit. By 2007, the band added Jose Diaz on bass and released their debut album Hunting Dreams.
Pushing ahead to 2009, the band joined up with Roland Grapow (Helloween, Masterplan) who produced the band’s sophomore studio album at his recording studio in Slovakia. The band initially signed a deal with the Spain-based record label Maldito Records who released Don’t Fear the Wolf in Spain and Europe in May 2010. With a continued effort to get their music heard by a larger contingency of new fans, Kilmara inked a deal the U.K. label Rising Records in the fall of ’10 and followed up that with re-releasing Don’t Fear the Wolf for worldwide distribution.
Don’t Fear the Wolf features 13 heavy metal songs. Opening the album is “Inside the Darkness,” which is an intro highlighted by the sounds of a wolf howling and growling, literally, to the beat of a pounding heart. The intro segues into “The Dark Inside – Don’t Fear the Wolf,” and from here, the sonic onslaught unfurls. Kilmara’s music is very similar to Edguy, as they strike hard with heavy anthems that are driven by heavy, crunchy rhythms and a thunderous rhythm section. Wolfgang’s vocals ice the cake, so to speak, with a tonal character that emphasizes his mid-timbre delivery.
For the most part, the CD maintains a tight cohesion in the way the songs are sonically linked together. On “You Left Without Reason” and “Vampire of Love,” the vocals feature Wolfgang and guest vocalists Nuria Martoreli and Ester Ravontos. The addition of the female vocals works well layered in the background. But when featured as a solo accompaniment, it all too well reminds one of the current trend to a have an operatic-style female vocal ride over heavy metal riffs. It’s become cliché, and really it’s hard not to stifle a yawn. The music is better suited for Wolfgang to handle all of the primary vocal melodies. The guitarists strut their stuff, providing solos that complement the music and highlight their technical abilities.
Overall, the music is rock solid. With Roland Grapow handling production duties, you know you are going to get a top-notch, high-quality sounding album to listen to. The album features additional backing instrumentation that adds violins, violoncellos and percussion to the mix. Grapow takes the role of musician as well, adding solos to “The Dark Inside” and “Show Me the Way.” As an introduction to Kilmara, Don’t Fear the Wolf serves as a great starting point from which the band can build a career. The album would have been better served by only featuring 10 songs, not including the intro. Obviously, taking away the songs with the female who shared lead vocals duties would make the album more cohesive.
Genre: Heavy Metal
Christian Wolfgang Kohl (vocals)
Jonathan Portillo (guitar)
Enrique Torres (guitar)
Javier Morillo (drums)
Jose Diaz (bass guitar)
Label: Rising Records http://www.risingrecords.org/
1. Inside The Darkness
2. The Dark Inside – Don’t Fear The Wolf
3. Rock The Night
4. All You Need Is Pray
6. The Dark Inside – You Better Run
7. Vampire Of Love
8. Let Sadness Be Destiny
9. You Left Without A Reason
10. You Won’t Live Forever
11. The Deceit
12. The Dark Inside – Show Me The Way
13. Dakujem Castle
Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10