• 9/10
    TWELVE FOOT NINJA - Vengeance - 9/10
  • 6/10
    The Wyvern and the Wolf (Book) - 6/10


Volkanik Music
Release date: October 15, 2021

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

It’s hard to categorize Australia’s Twelve Foot Ninja. Some label them Alternative Metal, while others claim they are Funk Metal, Djent or even Avantgarde Metal. They are all right but at the same time wrong. This is even more apparent on the Aussie group’s third album, Vengeance, than on their previous releases. Simultaneous with the release of Vengeance they’ve also released a computer game, a graphic novel, and a fantasy novel. In this review we take a closer look at the album and the novel.

Twelve Foot Ninja – Vengeance

Vengeance is Twelve Foot Ninja’s first new album in five years and it’s a bit surprising that the album clocks in at only 34 minutes and 17 seconds. In a way this is good because it’s over before you know it and it leaves you wanting more. There are no fillers on this album and it’s evidently been tightly trimmed.

The keyword to this album is dynamics. In one moment there is in-your-face-screaming and heavy riffing, while in the next you might get an equally minimalistic part that contrasts the previous part to the extreme. It might sound weird, but it works. Take for instance the title track, which is the perfect blend of heavy electronics and heavy riffing, relieving each other as pre-chorus and chorus, while the verses consist only of a synth bass, vocals and some percussion. “IDK” is equally heavy, while the calmer parts are reminiscent of 80s electronic Pop music. It’s like it’s two totally different songs mashed up, but in some weird way it works.

Twelve Foot Ninja 2021

Then there are heavy songs like “Start the Fire” and “Culture War” that have those ultra heavy Djent riffs and at times screaming vocals, but also very minimalistic parts that ensure great dynamics, as well as melodic hooks and beautiful vocal harmonies. The latter song even incorporates a mariachi midpart for good measure. The album is filled with sounds of arcade video game style bleeps and bloops, 90s style dial-up modems, and various other sounds throughout. Again, this might seem strange but it actually works.

“Shock to the System” is a great rocker on the surface but it also has some of those 80s Pop elements and even a midpart that mixes tango music with dramatic sprechgesang more closely associated with musical theater. The most straightforward song on the album is the rocker “Over and Out” that features a guest performance from Jinjer’s vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk. It’s a duett that really works and it’s no wonder this is one of the singles released off this album.

The musicianship on Vengeance is excellent but especially great is vocalist Kin Etik’s voice. His range goes from a deep baritone to a high falsetto, and even raspy screaming. What adds a little extra to his performance are the rich harmonies he lays down on the choruses.

Guitarist Stevic Mackay has said of the album, “[…] we became clearer on the distinction between ‘songs’ and ‘riffs’; there’s a clear harmonic bone-structure carrying all of the songs vs. bing-bong riffs that only give musos stiffies.” That is very evident when listening to Vengeance. This time they have taken their music a step further. The way they switch between genres and incorporate various genres, elements and sounds within the songs have been present on the previous two albums as well, but not to this extent. They have grown a lot and are now able to pull this difficult feat off. Vengeance is definitely Twelve Foot Ninja’s best album to date.

The Wyvern and the Wolf

The Wyvern and the Wolf
Book cover: The Wyvern and the Wolf by Nicholas Snelling

As mentioned the album is released simultaneously with a standalone, nearly 1000 page novel. The Wyvern and the Wolf (A Tale of the Twelve Foot Ninja) is a high fantasy novel, written by novelist Nicholas Snelling. The novel (read a sample of it here) is inspired by the original concept conceived by guitarist Stevic MacKay and his partner Fiona Permezel. The story goes back one year before the formation of the band in 2008, and explains the origin of the band name. In fact, each song from Twelve Foot Ninja’s debut album, Silent Machine, came with a comic that was inspired by the lyrics and based on the same origin story as this novel.

The story is set in a universe dominated by feudal Japanese culture, where ancient technology and magic are key elements. There are wars and schemes between samurais, ninjas, and fanatic priests, but more importantly is the story of an orphaned samurai boy called Kiyoshi who is adopted by the ruthless leader of a ninja clan. It gets bloody and gory at times, and the details are perfectly described by Snelling. To be clear, this is not some spur of the moment story written to cash in in the wake of the album release. The story takes place in a universe that has been thoroughly planned out, to the point where everything has a backstory and nothing is introduced at random. Snelling has a way with words and has a very rich vocabulary, which makes it an enjoyable read.

The most problematic thing about the novel is that the dialogues sometimes feel forced, and things can drag out for no apparent reason. This is especially evident when the characters recap plot points and ancient history to each other even though everyone involved already knows what’s going on. These dialogues are just added for the readers’ benefit. The novel would benefit from this information being spread out instead of forcing it into dialogues where it wouldn’t naturally occur.

All in all, The Wyvern and the Wolf is a good read though it might be a bit slow at times. That said, this novel might be more interesting to hardcore Twelve Foot Ninja fans, fantasy enthusiasts, or both, than to the average reader.


Nik “Kin Etik” Barker – lead vocals
Steve “Stevic” MacKay – lead guitar
Shane “Russ” Russell – drums
Rohan “Ro” Hayes – rhythm guitar, backing vocals


  1. Start The Fire – 4:10
  2. Long Way Home – 3:02
  3. Vengeance – 3:28
  4. IDK – 3:03
  5. Shock To The System – 3:20
  6. Gone – 3:24
  7. Culture War – 3:38
  8. Dead End – 3:44
  9. Over And Out (feat. Tatiana Shmayluk) – 3:24
  10. Tangled – 3:06


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.