Review – Glorious Wolf – Mysterious Traveller – by John Wenlock-Smith

Glorious Wolf is a studio project from Dutch musician, Ruud Dielen, the name comes from his own name which, in Dutch, is derived from the Germania origin that translates as Glorious Wolf. ‘Mysterious Traveller’ is obviously a labour of love for Ruud and one that allowed him to explore his love of progressive music. After many years in various blues and cover bands Ruud decided to enlist some friends to help him realise his vision, the results being this very musical release, here Ruud gets to explore his influences and pay homage in his own style.

The album has just seven tracks, three vocally led and four instrumental tracks. If symphonic prog is your particular bag then I think you will find much to enjoy herein, Ruud was also kind enough to give an insight into the various tracks. The album has a very lush sound and is well produced with great separation between all the instruments, which gives a good overall sound and strong impressions.

The opening track Repentance begins with lush keyboards and a strong guitar riff that is repeated over the keyboards, along with some striking drums and bass. Ruud uses a wah-wah pedal to great effect here and a busy bass adds to the track’s dynamics well. That great riff gets a further airing and the bass pounds along in tandem. The song is about how the world is in repentance and needs love, which is pretty much true these days. This track has a lot of restrained power to it, you can sense it being held back, although why this is the case is not clear. Either way, it is an impressive opener and one that encourages you to keep listening to the album. The muscular sounding Slow Down is another fine track, one with strong keyboards and the organ is especially prominent on this track and to good effect. I like the great supporting bass that underpins everything and the swirling Hammond that gives body to this instrumental track. This piece has strong hints of ‘Meddle’ and ‘Obscured by Clouds’ period Pink Floyd, especially in the excellent guitar work from Ruud, who is channelling his inner Gilmour on this track before the synth comes to the fore. This is another excellent track with strong musical performances and one that oozes style. It is also one of the albums longer tracks, with that time being used to show the skill of the band, alongside their imagination. This is followed by a second vocal track, The True Story, which is a song about Mother Earth and how beautiful she is and that we should stop exhausting and depleting her resources. Again, this is a sentiment any intelligent person would agree with, I’m sure! The sympathetic support from bass, drums and keyboards really impresses. This is a slow burner of a track, one that definitely hits the mark, the great fluid guitar lines at the end are particularly impressive and give a touch of class to this track.

Howling At The Moon has a crunchy and prominent guitar riff and the pounding drums and great keyboards all give weight to this shorter instrumental track. There feels to be there a strong element of power being restrained once more and that actually makes the track all the more effective to these ears. Title track Mysterious Traveller is an instrumental about the Amazon Rainforest. This superb track has a great sound, especially in the bass department, making it another fine track and the brilliant guitar just adds to it all and making it rather impressive stuff. Battlefield is a call to stop the wars and to instead use the funds that war costs to solve world hunger. This is a highly sensible idea, except that we all know that war is a vehicle for certain industries, investors and individuals to make money, so this is an idea that will sadly go unheeded by the masses. Many a war has been used to support corrupt regimes and to enrich certain sectors of society, especially if countries involved in the arms trade have no scruples and peddle their wares to any interested parties, regardless of their record of human rights. The final track Beautifully Broken is in two parts, presented as one piece. War breaks hearts, Love heals, Greed is not what we need to feed our hearts. This song has lots of great guitar work, all of which is mostly understated, it also has lots of dynamics and contrasts, all with strong musicianship and musicality. The second half of the track is an amazing extended improvisation and runs out to the end of the album superbly.

Overall this album will not greatly tax you. It will ,however, give you a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment when you understand what it is trying to convey and the class and style it uses to these ends. There is a hell of a lot to enjoy here, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the artwork by the renowned artist Ed Unitsky is most impressive too.

Released 1st November, 2023

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