The Fourth and Final Horseman (2013) is the sixth full-length album by French metal act Lonewolf. It's only been a little more than a year since the group last dropped an album, that being Army of the Damned (2012). As a useless fact Lonewolf albums have always seemed to come in rapid pairs like this but whether The Fourth and Final Horseman will be the last we hear of the band for another few years remains to be seen.
What I do know is, through what little prior experience I have of Lonewolf, is that they're generally known for being a power metal band, albeit one of the decidedly un-cheesy ones, something which is especially due to Jens Börner's rough vocals. So it's too my surprise that on The Fourth and Final Horseman, my first full and proper experience of them I find myself listening to an album which although strongly influenced by power metal, and includes some full on power metal tracks like Hellride, is more overly dominated by a traditional heavy metal sound that only very occasionally hits power metal-esque tempo and technique.
Lonewolf's brand of both heavy and power metal is the sort that blends very well however, since what power metal is here is more of the heavier Grave Digger variety, and it's certainly a convincing album even though for the most part it's merely solid songs with little happening that really manages to wow me and make me think there's more to the band than just providing a casual listen. The opening title track is one of the best on offer but from there the album does seem to, not so much stall but hold back somewhat until it's latter stages, which is when it delivers its other highlights including Throne of Skulls and The Brotherhood of Wolves. The only actual veering from the heavy/power metal templates that occurs here is some very vague folk influences, heard most in the aforementioned The Brotherhood of Wolves both in terms of the lead melody and general delivery of the song even though the instrumentation itself isn't even remotely close to folk.
Lonewolf have produced a great album in The Fourth and Final Horseman. While it doesn't stand out as something special it's one that you can count on to reliably deliver great track after great track without ever dropping the ball, while every so often they'll give you that something extra which is both rewarding yet tantalising - I'm sure Lonewolf have a better album in them than they ultimately delivered. It's great, but it never quite makes it to a grade to consider it essential listening.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/lonewolf-the-fourth-and-final-horseman-t3021.html)