WOLF HOFFMANN – HEADBANGERS SYMPHONY
Release Date: Jul 01, 2016
℗ 2016 Nuclear Blast
- Night on Bald Mountain
- Je Crois Entendre Encore
- Double Cello Concerto in G Minor
- Symphony No. 40
- Swan Lake
- Madame Butterfly
- Air on the G String
Our Teutonic terror turned majestic maestro of symphonic shredding yet again. And really little wonder Wolf Hoffmann is constantly influenced by classical music and continues as a modern day master of composing guitar tracks and soaring solos to suit the works of his chosen protagonists. Classic, released in 1997 was most apt in title and Headbangers Symphony carries on the torch of exciting innovation brilliantly. A veritable master class of guitar work, but more appropriately the product of sheer passion and a marked example of what heights of brilliance can be achieved when driven by raw enjoyment. And those who know Wolf and his work, know his is a determined perfectionist capable of tuning a simple guitar into a soaring spectacle of sensational brilliance. This collection will be nothing short of your weighty expectations. Simply thrilling and inspirational.
Scherzo commences just as the title describes, but soon becomes the malevolent fury that is Wolf aloft the fretboard. This, the second movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony ebbs and flows is majestic glory and the goose bumps soon arrive on the listener, now struck in bewildered awe. Just thrilling in improvised brilliance, but beautifully homogenised into the master’s work.
Night On Bald Mountain gives the distinct impression that something evil lurches forth and Wolf compliments the overtones of original composer beyond perfection. Crafted by one of a group known as ‘The Five’, Russian composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, this work is based on the Russian legend of dark witches summoning the devil on a barren mountain top. Wolf blends the malevolent sounds of guitar sensationally into this work, which was written over twelve days by the original composer in one creative eruption. No drafts or copies, simply a creative upsurge, culminating in completion on St John’s Eve (June 23 1867). This is, quite remarkably the very night on which said deeds of conjuring Beelzebub occurred and why the original of the work is St John’s Night on the Bald Mountain. Wolf Hoffmann’s contribution and adaptation complements both the composition and the story so brilliantly that words seem scarcely capable of doing any justice to this track whatsoever.
Composed by Georges Bizet, Je Crois Entendre Encore is from Act 1 of the opera Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) and Wolf narrates this emotional scene to utter perfection as he translates the soulful emotions through the medium of a guitar. This is about the time that you realise that all music runs rich through the veins of our metal master, and his capacity for enhancing established works with his mastery is evidently limitless. Each chord draws you further into the tragic tale, thereby eliciting the desired emotion from the listener, without them having to ever know the storyline behind the original piece.
Just when you thought the improvisation and sensational guitar accompaniment could not reach greater heights of excellence, Wolf provides further brilliance to Vivaldi’s Double Cello Concerto in G minor. My god almighty, what a magnificent display of stringed prowess to accompany such a moving piece. Just astounding in adaptation, whilst remaining extremely true to the original composition. An amazing instrumental ballet of utter brilliance.
Adagio is nestled into this collection superbly and renders the listener ‘at ease’ in perfect harmony, so much so that the namesake of ‘slowly’ brings an overwhelming feeling of calm. I look up from my keyboard to view a banner adorning the wall of my chamber of toil. It features the furious intent of a bull on the Blind Rage banner and I contemplate with wonder the fact that this is the same creative genius behind all we hold dear in the works of Accept. Incredibly emotive.
To blast us from our former state of relaxation, Wolf introduces in sequenced perfection, none other than the timeless Symphony No. 40, the Great G minor Symphony, composed by the Austrian legend Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Wolf launches this masterwork from 1788 majestically into the modern millennia, affording it an exciting contemporary rebirth. The goose bumps continue as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is represented brilliantly with all the emotion that could possibly be channeled from an electric guitar accompanied by orchestral finery. Wolf manages to manifest the evil Von Rothbart before our very ears with his sensationally moving guitar work. One is left desirous of a momentary lapse into heavy metal vernacular with an utterance of ‘fucking epic’.
For Madame Butterfly I respectfully reserve comment and leave this to the individual listener’s enjoyment, save to say that it’s my personal belief that Giacomo Puccini would likely be utterly delighted.
A similar sentiment applies for the unbelievable adaptation of Beethoven’s Pathétique, which will knock your socks right off. Astounding. Meditation by French composer Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet is a beautiful piece, in my opinion, afforded a new dimension of appeal from Wolf’s work and the passion he channels throughout, is utterly magical.
Air On The String, August Wilhelmj’s arrangement of Bach’s original second movement Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, is the perfect finale to this amazing collection of discovery and compositional rebirth, all adorned with the passionate stringed blessings of Wolf Hoffmann. A mesmerizing masterwork of conceptual homage to influential protagonists throughout the life of this incredibly talented man. To some Wolf is the shredding lead of Accept and will be eternally synonymous with top-shelf riffage, but to many more, he is the consummate musical genius capable of utter brilliance in any genre. This collection is further proof of the latter. A soaring masterpiece of classical celebration with our metal marvel at the fore, recreating, adapting and celebrating in majestic style. Somewhere, on another plane of existence, perhaps in a heavenly abode or observing from an alternate dimension, I’m hopeful that the classical composers of days’ past are giving Wolf the metal horns up in delighted glee.