Monday, July 22, 2013

White Wizzard - The Devil's Cut

Throughout the recent uprising of young, new bands playing traditional heavy metal, there still has not been a record as great as White Wizzard’s first full-length, “Over The Top”. That album perfectly represented everything that made heavy metal great. It had brilliantly catchy guitar and vocal melodies, simplistic, yet enjoy riffs, and wicked imagery. White Wizzard’s next record, “Flying Tigers” was a bit of a different beast in that the first half of the album was similar to the debut, but the second side of the record aimed for a more progressive, mature approach to songwriting. On their newest album, “The Devil’s Cut”, White Wizzard has effectively gone back to their original sound, with a couple of influences thrown from the stranger side of “Flying Tigers”.

The one-two punch of “Forging The Steel” and “Strike The Iron” that kick off this record is easily the most energetic sounding combo of any album this year. “Forging The Steel” opens with the band paying tribute to Iron Maiden, with heavy galloping, a strong bass guitar presence, and melodic leads. Even more impressive is “Strike The Iron”. This track epitomizes what the role of guitar solos should be in heavy metal. There is a never-ending supply of shredding on this song. Just when you think there can’t possibly be another solo, guitarists Will Wallner and Jake Dreyer show up again to let you know they can play faster than you. Jammed between these wicked shredders are the powerful vocals of Joseph Michael. I was personally a huge fan of White Wizzard’s old singer, Wyatt Anderson, but Joseph Michael has done a more than respectable job in bringing a new voice to the band. He can do all of the wicked screams that you want to hear, and he can sing appropriately in any other situation the band finds themselves in. "Strike The Iron" also features a couple of unique guitar melodies that would not have been out of place on "Flying Tigers", and help to differentiate the band a bit from their followers.

Aside from the first two tracks, there are some great moments on “The Devil’s Cut”. “Torpedo of Truth” is a return to the simple, upbeat and catchy choruses that dominated the first album.  Kings of the Highway” and “Storm Chaser” both display a more laid-back sensibility. Those songs are the kind of tunes that you can put on anywhere and everybody should be able to enjoy, regardless of their personal music tastes. The closing track, “The Sun Also Rises” is beyond epic, not unlike “Iron Goddess of Vengeance” from the debut record. Much like at the end of an Iron Maiden album from the 80’s, when this song nears its end, you really feel like you’ve gone through a wicked journey with the band. A couple of the tracks on “The Devil’s Cut” don’t have much staying power (“Lightning In My Hands” and “Steal Your Mind” are my least favourites), but it doesn’t mean they don’t rock when they are playing. It is really more of a testament to the strength of the other seven songs that these two tracks aren’t as memorable as the rest. 

The Devil’s Cut” is a great return to form for White Wizzard. While I don’t think “Flying Tigers” was bad, it did get a bit off track by the end. By contrast, this new record is high quality throughout, and there’s nothing on this album that is bad or boring. This is one of those albums that if you can’t enjoy, you probably don’t like heavy metal very much.  

Be sure to check out and like White Wizzard on Facebook!

"Strike The Iron"
"Torpedo of Truth"
"Storm Chaser"

Final Rating
4.4/5 or 88%. 

Written by Scott