"Orna Verum" (Seasons of the Wolf; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Seasons of the Wolf returns again with their latest album, Orna Verum (which translates to Adorn the Truth, if Google Translate can be believed). It's yet another collection of solid, heavy metal rockers with a progressive edge. The exceptions are "Rain," a brilliant, simmering track that starts out slowly and light but builds into a heavy crescendo and the marching military ballad, "Coat of Arms." And, of course, the two-minute instrumental "Exordium," which acts as a lead-up (intentionally or not) to the noble track, "Return of the King," which unfolds like a Dio-era Rainbow track.

My favorite tracks were the rumbling "Stella Magnetica," the afore-mentioned "Rain," the eerie, bluesy "Black Swamp Gypsy" and it's follow-up, "Mortuary Man," (maybe a nod to the horror film Phantasm?)

I will say that some of the production here seems a little muddy (especially on opening track, "Reignite the Sun"), but maybe it's just my copy. And occasionally the dual-layer vocals don't really work for me but, again, that's a matter of taste. And neither of those complaints are deal-breakers. "Orna Verum" is another collection of kick-ass tunes from a band that does it their way and I love Seasons of the Wolf for continuing to do that time after time.

For more information, check out

"Last Act of Defiance" (Iron Shield Records; 2018)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I was thrilled when I saw the Facebook Posts annoucing that Seasons of the Wolf were finally releasing a new CD. As you can see from the reviews below, I've been a fan of the band's music for a long, long time and, you know me, I'm always looking for something new from my favorite bands. So when my copy of Last Act of Defiance finally arrived on my desk, I couldn't wait to slap it in the CD player (you remember those) and hear how the band sounds all these years after their last recorded music release.

But I was also a little trepeditious. I mean, a lot of the bands that I've loved and followed have come out with new albums recently, but only a few of them have delivered a solid "comeback." How would Seasons of the Wolf do? Had it been too long since they last recorded? Had they lost their rock'n'roll spirit? Or were they once of those bands who could come back, all guns blazing? There was only one way to find out: I hit PLAY on the CD player.

Yeah, I was worrying about nothing. "Last Act of Defiance" starts off where all the other Seasons of the Wolf albums ended. It's like they took six months off, not over a decade.

Last Act of Defiance seems heavier than the previous Season of the Wolf records, with an emphasis more on metal than on the progressive elements I wrote about in earlier reviews. In other words, it's closer to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden than Dream Theater and Spock's Beard. Oh, you can still hear progressive influences here and there, but this album is more about kicking your rock'n'roll ass.

The guitars here are heavy and, I don't know, classic in some way. They have that tone that makes them both headbanging and haunting at the same time. Barry Waddell and Wes Waddell apparently trade off vocals track-by-track and their styles are very similiar in most ways although I think Wes sounds just a little more sinister. Both are great vocalists, however, and I can't get the chorus of "Be Careful What You Wish For" out of my head. Like the Waddells (Barry also plays guitar and  bass), the rest of the band trades off instruments as well, with more than one person playing keyboards (often adding a heavy, Deep Purple-esque sound to many of the tracks) and drums. Whatever, it works. The tracks on "Last Act of Defiance" sound like a band, and I guess they are, despite the fact that no one seems to be playing one particular instrument throughout.

My favorite tracks are probably the aforementioned "Be Careful What You Wish For," "Fools Gold" and the cheerful "No More Room In Hell" (in case you're wondering, that "cheerful" is meant to be sarcastic). But there isn't a track on Last Act of Defiance that doesn't work. The bad news, of course, is that it'll probably be another decade before Seasons of the Wolf release another CD, if they decide to at all. The good news is that, judging by this one, we know it'll be worth the wait.

Oh, yeah: The album cover's pretty cool, too.

For more information, check out

"Once in a Blue Moon" (Earth Mother Music/Snakenet Records; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's been too long since we had a new album from Seasons of the Wolf, but Once in a Blue Moon was certainly worth the wait. The band's been enduring its share of turmoil. Recording for Once in a Blue Moon actually began in 2004 but, with multiple line-up changes in the bass and drums departments,  the CD wasn't completed and released until 2007. In an interesting move, the CD contains performances by those who came and went over the past few years.

Like its predecessors, Once in a Blue Moon is a unique combination of heavy metal and progressive elements. It's almost as though Iron Maiden merged with Dream Theater. The guitars are rhythmically powerful, the leads blistering and the vocals are razor sharp in a kind of Ronnie James Dio meets King Diamond sort of way. Keyboards boost virtually every song while managing never to sound intrusive or unnecessary.

There also seems to be a haunting theme here, a theme not necessarily found in the lyrical content but in the musical content. Despite the fact it's taken three years and a handful of musicians to complete, Once in a Blue Moon is a collection of songs that sound like they belong together. That isn't to say they all sound the same; nothing could be farther from the truth. It's just to say that the twelve tracks on this CD feel like important parts of the overall whole. 

Fans of such varied bands as Iron Maiden, Spock's Beard and Triumph will love Once in a Blue Moon. It's another solid notch in the belt for the members of Seasons of the Wolf.

Seasons of the Wolf: Dennis ("Dr. Samurai") Ristow; Barry "Skully" Waddell; Wes Edward Waddell.

For more information, check out

"Nocturnal Revelation" (Earth Mother Music/Snakenet Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When one hears the term "progressive rock" or "progressive metal," one tends to think of bands that have a bit more melody and a little less bite than the usual hard rock or heavy metal. Bands like Dream Theater and Spock's Beard are known for their complicated, advanced sound, but they're not usually considered as heavy as, say, Iron Maiden.

Seasons of the Wolf, however, are like the missing link between "progressive" and "heavy." With Nocturnal Revelation, they further prove that this is one band that's determined to carve a sound of their own. Continuing to blend the various metal genres, Seasons of the Wolf create a unique beast with this CD. "Nocturnal Revelation" rocks like a vintage Black Sabbath album crossed with a classic Iron Maiden album mixed with Gamma Ray.

With the screaming yet controlled and undeniably unique vocals of Wes Edward Waddell (imagine a cross between Ronnie James Dio, Udo Dirkschneider and Ian Gillan - if you can), the razor-sharp guitars of Barry Waddell, the non-intrusive and very important keyboards of Dennis Ristow and the always reliable backbone of Chris Whitford on bass and Wayne Hoefle on drums, Season of the Wolf weave a rock tapestry that not only will kick your ass, but that holds great promise for the future of the genre. 

The CD begins with the great riffed New Age Revolution which starts things off with a solid bang. Next up is "Dead Zone," one of two Stephen King-inspired songs (the other is "Storm of the Century). Other highlights include "Liar," with its chill-inducing chorus, the title track, the eerie "Skulls" and the final track, "Transmission." 

Seasons of the Wolf is a band that's re-inventing metal - and they continue to succeed magnificently!

Seasons of the Wolf: Chris Whitford - bass; Dennis ("Samurai") Ristow - keyboards & backing vocals; Wayne Hoefle - drums; Barry "Skullwolf" Waddell - guitar & backing vocals; Wes Edward Waddell - lead vocals. 

For more information, check out

"Lost In Hell" (Earth Mother Music; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Lost In Hell is the next step in the evolution of Seasons of the Wolf. It's a CD that further displays their qualities as musicians and songwriters and yet takes the music a short step in a new direction without abandoning the hard sound that inspired them.

In my review of the band's first CD (below) I described their music as "a unique hybrid of Ronnie James Dio, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden." That description still stands. But, with Lost In Hell, Seasons of the Wolf has added a little Pink Floyd and perhaps a little Deep Purple as well. What's perhaps more important is that - in further perfecting their style - the band has not only incorporated new inspirations, but have further developed a unique sound of their own.

Highlights include the title track, a gut-wrenching rocker with terrific, emotional vocals from Wes Waddell; "Abandoned City," an Iron-Maiden reminiscent number that brings to mind the "Terminator" films of James Cameron; "Communion," a syncopated mechanical tune that would fit great in the next "Heavy Metal" film and "Interstellar," a tune that relies heavily on the sticks of Wayne Hoefle. In addition, Barry Waddell, whose guitar work is exemplary throughout, really gets to show off on "Witchfinder" and the atmospheric "Voo Doo Master" is a strong tribute to vintage Black Sabbath. "A Face in the Mist" is an eerie instrumental that could be used in the next George Romero zombie flick.

As with the last album, Lost In Hell is also buoyed by strong lyrical content - lyrics that are poetic in their subtlety and not political statements rammed down your throat with a verbal fist.

Lost In Hell is an impressive improvement over the band's already impressive debut CD. I can't wait to hear what they're working on next!

Seasons of the Wolf: Wes Waddell, vocals; Barry Waddell, guitar and backing vocals; Chris Whitford, bass; Wayne Hoefle, drums; Dennis Ristow, keyboards and backing vocals.

For more information, check out

"Seasons of the Wolf" (Earth Mother Music; 1996)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Seasons of the Wolf's self-titled seven-track CD is a unique hybrid of Ronnie James Dio, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. The band -- who tout themselves as "the planet's only new age metal band" -- offer a heavy rock operatic sound that is driving, melodic and thoroughly intelligent all at once.

The band's thought-provoking lyrics blend smoothly with their musical style, and one gets the impression that this music is even more intense when played live. And that's impressive because it's pretty damn intense on the CD. The musicianship is tight and talented and the songs well-written and well-performed.

Seasons of the Wolf may be one example of the future of heavy music. 

Seasons of the Wolf: Wes Waddell on lead vocals; Barry Waddell on guitar and backup vocals; Phaedra Rubio on bass guitar; Wayne Hoefle on drums and Dennis Ristow on keyboards and backup vocals.

For more information, check out

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Our writers choose which products we review on,
and we may earn an affiliate commission when you buy
something through our website. Thanks, by the way! 

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright 2024 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.