Seasons of the Wolf
[Also archived as: SOTW]
ithout the support of major label money, and indeed, much of the independent network, Seasons Of The Wolf (SOTW) have successfully promoted themselves over the years. SOTW was formed on Halloween 1988 from the ashes of former act Equinox, with Barry "Skully" Waddell (guitar/producer), Wes Edward Waddell (vocalist), and Dennis Ristow (keyboards/engineer). Wayne Hoefle (percussion) joined in late 1993 to replace the departing Aaron Winders (1992-1994) who in turn replaced Dwayne "Sandman" Brier (1992-1994; R.I.P. 1997), with Phaedra Rubio (bass) joining in as well to complete the line-up.
SOTW settled with gigging around their home state of Florida until 1995 when things began to change. They established their own 'Earth Mother Music' label and built their own recording studio named "Level-D-Green". Their first EP was a low key, small-scale self-titled affair when it arrived in 1996. By networking with underground media and distributors and establishing three web sites, they gained thousands of fans that purchased the first self-titled CD. During 1997 and 1998 they engaged on a media blitz that would service hundreds of radio stations with the first CD; several of those stations made the tracks Victim Of Darkness and October Moon hits on their local charts, even achieving "#1 most added" in CMJ, and HITS industry trade journals, topping many major label acts. Shortly after, they would gain further notoriety with a "#2 most added" in FMQB, and Album Network.
After the October 1998 recruiting of Chris Whitford on bass, the second full-length studio album titled Lost In Hell was officially released in May 1999 in the USA. By February the next year most other places on Earth were licensed as well, with the European version including a bonus track, full color 16-page booklet, and extra artwork in digi-pak packaging. In the autumn of 1999 the USversion of Lost In Hell achieved top 10 status at over 40 college radio stations while slowly gaining airplay at hundreds of others. Over the years SOTW has been quoted by several reviewers to be one of the "best Independent Underground Metal" acts to surface from the USA. in recent years. They have managed to achieve "cult status" by flogging their sci-fi AOR influenced Progressive metal sounds around the world without a world tour. In 2002 they released their 3rd effort, Nocturnal Revelation, their most sophisticated and mature work yet.
2003 would see SOTW in flux with membership changes in the form of Bill Bois filling in on bass (later permanent) and Mark Empire for filling in on drums (later permanent), but in 2004 it was Steve Satyr who would assume the bass as a permanent player while new replacement drummer Scott Thacker would leave due to the long commute from Orlando being too much, leaving the band in need of a replacement; both former members leaving on good terms. In the mean time, long time drummer Wayne Hoefle played the drums for the studio sessions. The schedule for their next album, Orna Verum (Latin for "Adorn The Truth") was scheduled for release in mid 2005 but this was simply not possible. It would be in 2007 that the next album appeared featuring contributions from all of the departed members over the past several years in the form of Once In A Blue Moon; the disc featured UK model Tara Dayne on the front and back cover.
Their catalog would be re-released on vinyl in 2012.
New Years day 2015 the band was scheduled to release Last Act Of Defiance but it would be delayed until May 2017 when it was revealed that Wes had a drug addiction, dating back as far as 2008, that was now affecting his performance and would see him eventually leave; a matter that had to be dealt with before the band could resume with the membership of: Robert Baxter (lead vocals; who joined in 2016), Barry Waddell aka "Skully" (Guitar and backing vocals), Dennis Ristow aka "Dr. Samurai" (Keyboards and backing vocals), Mark Empire (Drums) and Bill Bois (Bass). A press statement issued by his brother Barry stated, "Wes developed a drug habit which effected his physical and mental health and had to leave the band - but he did manage to get half of another SOTW album done. His brother Barry Waddell guitarist / producer aka "Skully" - finished off the rest of the album 'Last Act Of Defiance' ".
The line-up would change again in 2017, however, with Sam Conable (Bass), Ken Trapp (Drums) and Robert Vaughn Baxter (Vocals).
At time of writing, SOTW has material for their 8th studio album in production. New singer Rob Baxter has been rehearsing a 12 song live set that the band is gearing up for.