His latest band, Rock Wolves, have their self-titled album out on Steamhammer Records, with the lineup being completed by Michael Voss on vocals and guitar (Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock) and Stephan “Gudze” Hinz on bass.
Rock Wolves, it has to be said, is your basic package of rock songs, with up-tempo tunes, ballads and the odd cover version thrown in. The lyrics, however, do offer something different with comment on dodgy politicians, anti-war expression and even, I’m sure, a song about a dog on a road trip.
Rock Wolves opens with the catchy “Rock For The Nations”, which, for anybody familiar with the competition, would not be out of place in the Eurovision Song Contest. This is not a criticism and I reckon it would have a good chance of winning.
Next up on Rock Wolves is “Surrounded By Fools”, the aforementioned political commentary. It is an extremely cool, well thought out track with a great funky solo.
“Out Of Time” is one of heavier, faster efforts on the album with a catchy chorus and slick solo.
Straight out of left-field comes “What About Love”, the Jim Vallance penned song made into a mega-hit by Heart. Unfortunately, left-field is where it should have stayed. Michael Voss just has not got the pipes to compete with Ann Wilson and the song lacks the power and passion of the Heart smash.
Now for the dog! Yes, “Riding Shotgun” is definitely a song about taking a dog on a road trip. This is a great fun song which paints the picture perfectly and you feel you could easily be in the back seat of the car watching the tale unfold. There’s also an acoustic break which is definitely from Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” songbook.
It is now power ballad time on Rock Wolves, with “Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down”. An enjoyable big-sounding song.
The album now begins to lose a bit of impetus with both “The Lion is Loose” and “I Need Your Love” bringing nothing to the party. “I Need Your Love” especially, tries too hard to be AC/DC.
We continue Rock Wolves with the pleading ballad “Lay With Me”. It’s ok but could do with a solo, and for a rock ballad, that’s a pretty stark omission.
Finally, we come to conclude the album with “Inside Out” which sums up the last few tracks of Rock Wolves. It is uninspiring and has the feeling of a band that have run out of ideas.
As mentioned, Herman Rarebell is rock royalty and it feels like an act of heresy not to love what he does but on this occasion, it just didn’t light my fire. It has highlights but is generally short on quality and interest. I would, however, love a road trip with the dog.