Written by Kirk
Project: Roenwolfe – Project: Roenwolfe
> Power/thrash metal
> Arizona, US
> Releasing June 2
> Syrup Moose Records
I realize it’s too early to say this, but I can’t help but feel like 2023 is the year of thrash. Sure, it’s only June, and summer hasn’t even officially started yet. There are still another seven months of releases ahead of us (SEVEN!), but just take a look at some of the records that have dropped so far. Last month saw the release of Finality’s debut album Technocracy (read my review of it here). Back in March, we saw the release of the newest Transgressive album, Extreme Transgression (read Barlovv’s review here), as well as Necropanther with Betrayal. Plus new records from Enforced and Pest Control, and that’s just stuff we’ve covered here at Noob Heavy.
The buzz around Extreme Transgression alone has been outstanding, so imagine my surprise when Syrup Moose Records announced it would be releasing the third album from power thrash outfit Project: Roenwolfe. “Why is that, Kirk?” I’m sure you’re asking. Well, because the guitarist and songwriter for Project: Roenwolfe just so happens to be Alicia Cordisco…the same Alicia Cordisco of Transgressive. And while she may not be handling vocal duties for Project: Roenwolfe (Patrick Parris is more than capable and does an absolutely outstanding job), I’m surprised she has any riffs left after how chock full of them Extreme Transgression was. Alicia has more talent in her pick hand than the average person has in their entire body.
Now three albums deep and celebrating ten years since the release of their debut record Neverending Dreamscape, Project: Roenwolfe seems to have all but perfected the fusion of power metal and thrash metal. Drawing on a wealth of power metal experience from her time with Judicator, Alicia has crafted riffs so perfect that even Hephaestus would blush. But she’s not alone on this latest journey; at her side is fellow guitarist Acea Lashley—formerly of Apathetic Discharge and Solace Lost—to embellish her guitar work with some outstanding solos. His contributions to “Boundless”, “Honor the Line”, “Kyromid”, “Pre-Existential Crisis”, “Theater of Sorrow”, and “Project: Roenwolfe” are simply outstanding.
On lead vocals and fellow songwriting contributor is Patrick Parris, whose voice I can best describe as the King Diamond of power metal. His range is wonderfully dynamic, and he breathes so much life and energy into each song that you can’t help but get swept up into each song, lost in the tales of a dystopian hyper-capitalist future. And not to be outdone by the addition of Acea Lashley, Patrick is joined by none other than Lux Edwards of Soulmass on “Pearls Before Swine”, a brutally punishing song about the how life under capitalism and fascism crushes all that is beautiful and good beneath its meticulously polished boot heels.
Rounding things out are the rhythm section consisting of Ernie Topran on percussion and Leona Hayward on bass, and guest musician Michael Goodrich on keyboards, synths, and samples. The rhythm section does an outstanding job of not only keeping up with Alicia and Patrick as they blaze a trail with pure hellfire but standing out in spite of the utterly insane level of talent going on here. Ernie’s drumming is nothing short of perfect, shifting seamlessly between the thrashier sections and the power metal sections. But Ernie is no stranger to this sort of thing; he joined Project: Roenwolfe back in 2019 and contributed percussion to the band’s second album, Edge of Saturn. The only newcomer here is Leona, but you wouldn’t know it after listening to this record. Her bass tone is like angelsong, and I can’t get enough of it. The chemistry going on throughout this album is mind-blowing, and the addition of Michael Goodrich’s contributions on synths and keyboards makes it otherworldly. Though subtle and sophisticated, it’s these delicate touches that elevate this collection of songs from mere album to aural experience. Every bit of this album works on every level imaginable, which is truly something wondrous to behold.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Say what you will about me, but I will always think of the ‘80s when I listen to thrash metal. Long, unkempt, wavy hair. Denim jackets with patches hand-sewn or pinned on with safety pins. The smell of stale cheap beer, cigarette smoke, and sweat. And attitude. So much attitude. Thrash metal is and has always been the cool uncle of punk, with just the right amount of swagger that can kill a lesser man from up to twenty meters away. And then there’s the stories of all the times he’s been arrested for getting into fights at bars. Somehow those stories always involve him beating up at least five cops, too, which just adds resplendence to the already immaculate perception.
Project: Roenwolfe embodies this attitude and distills it into pure sonic inclination with extra power metal flavor. It takes a certain level of talent to craft songs the way they do and breathe such life into them, and yet Project: Roenwolfe seem to do it with such grace and ease. Whether you’re a fan of thrash and power metal or hate thrash and power metal, do yourself a favor and give this record a spin. It’s far more than the sum of its parts and will take you on a journey you never thought possible. And the ride is worth every penny.