With their eponymous debut from 2011, the American band FIREWÖLFE impressed the scene, but it took them three years to deliver the follow-up “We Rule the Night,” a smasher that seemed to pave the path to success for FIREWÖLFE. But life is complicated and not easy to plan. Things turned out differently than planned – sometimes the turn-out is even better than the original plan. In the case of FIREWÖLFE’s third album, “Conquer All Fear,” unplanned changes yielded extremely positive results. Time heals wounds, makes changes logical in hindsight, and the future is looking bright. “Conquer All Fear” shows a newly formed band, highly motivated and equipped with strong ideas, off to a new start with a positive outlook.
When the two guitarists Nick Layton (also briefly active in Q5, among others) and Paul Kleff accidentally run into each other in 2010 and realize that their preferences, in addition to their passion for guitars, are enormously similar, they decide that this could very well be the basis for a new band. The goal was quickly defined: melodic and powerful music, characterized by strong guitar work, aiming straight at your head and heart. The songwriting process revealed that this ambitious plan would only be accomplished with an expressive singer. Both come up with the idea of David Fefolt as their vocalist – a veteran in the rock and metal business with experience from his stints in bands like Masi, Angels of Babylon, Valhalla, or the collaboration with David Ellefson of Megadeth. Said Fefolt should be the right man for the job! Over the summer months of 2010, they intensify the work on new songs and keep an eye out for a drummer. A tip leads to Jay Schellen, who earned his spurs with Badfinger, Unruly Child, Hurricane, and Asia. Schellen is also taken with the material and immediately joins the troupe. What’s missing? A meaningful band name. After a few missteps, the band agrees on FIREWÖLFE and commissions London-based artist PJ to design an expressive logo for the band. In the first half of the following year, the band has collected enough song material for a first album. In the middle of 2011, they finish the recordings for the album of the same name and release it immediately. The reactions are enormously positive and the band gets signed by the Japanese label Rubicon Records in the fall of the same year.
The following year proves to be a bumpy road though: they change 50 percent of the line-up, but that doesn’t keep David and Nick from writing songs for another album. It is not until 2013, however, that the first sounds of the new stuff are recorded. Drummer Jay Schellen rejoins the band and with Bobby Ferkovich, they finally find a permanent bass player for FIREWÖLFE. Ferkovich is another seasoned veteran on the Washington State scene. He can look back on playing with bands like Presto Ballet, Power Train, Heir Apparent, or the Pamela Moore Band. In mid-2014, their second album titled “We Rule the Night” is finally recorded and gets them a label deal with LIMB MUSIC for a worldwide release. Markus Teske, who has worked for Symphony X, Neal Morse, Saga, Vanden Plas, or even Ian Parry’s Consortium Project, among others, provides the album with a proper mastering. “We Rule the Night” seems like a leap in time, back to the legendary days of the L.A. Strip and that pulsating scene. FIREWÖLFE place themselves perfectly between bands like Icon, Rough Cutt, Dokken, Malice, Ratt or Eden and combine their orientation with a mighty guitar barrage. Fefolt`s vocal roughness is not unlike that of Rough Cutt`s Paul Shortino. The album is very well received by press and fans.
However, Fefolt is dissatisfied with the situation and leaves the band in 2015. Attempts to recruit a new singer with a similar vocal range fail. In 2018, there is a brief reboot, which Fefolt also attends, but it is not meant to be. In 2019, the two remaining band members, guitarist Nick Layton and bassist Bobby Ferkovich, take a more focused approach to another reboot. TKO and Q5 drummer Jeffery McCormack and guitarist Michael David (TKO) become band members. During the search for a new singer, the first songs are written. The quest turns out to be more difficult than expected. Between the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, they try out different singers, among others ex-Heir Apparent singer Paul Davidson. Despite the high professionalism on both sides, this attempt also comes to nothing. At the beginning of 2021, Covid-19 has also hit FIREWÖLFE enormously. Still on the look-out, they get a tip to listen to a guy named Freddy Krumins in Las Vegas. Krumins was the singer on James Byrd’s “Atlantis Rising” album! The singer jumps aboard, and everybody is on the same page musically. However, drummer McCormack leaves again for personal reasons. Ferkovich uses his connections and gets in touch with Marco Bicca, who also plays in the Pamela Moore Band. He joins the band without hesitation and they start recording the new, third FIREWÖLFE album.
“Conquer All Fear” is a powerful, mighty heavy metal album with a high melodic density. Produced and mastered by Bart Gabriel (Crystal Viper, Jack Starr, Hexx among others) and mixed by Cederick Forsberg (Blazon Stone), the album comes across as a tour de force of US metal. Heavy riffs, melodic choruses, a thundering rhythm unit, excellent double guitar attacks and finely structured solos characterize the tracks. With Freddy Krumin’s voice, the new tracks seem elegantly rougher and take the new material to the next level. The core piece of the album is the “The Evil Eye Trilogy.” Versatility and heaviness go hand in hand. Other than that, you’ll find straight numbers such as “Pedal to Metal,” “Vicious As the Viper” or “Wages Of Sin,” reminding you almost of Power Metal tunes – they top off an album that blasts out of the speakers straight into your brain!
Read our review here.