|Review: White Wizzard - Over the Top|
|Over the Top|
Label: Earache Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 30, 2010
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Over the Top
Rated 3.7/5 (74.07%) (27 Votes)
This band has been getting a ton of press as some sort of godlike classic metal revival act, but I have to say they really aren't that great. On one hand, I really love their frenzied energy, and the singing from Wyatt Anderson is really great – "Screamin' Demon," indeed. But on the other, the songwriting is dull and most of these songs are pretty forgettable. They pretty much sound...exactly like Iron Maiden, almost to the point of plagiarism, except for the fact that Maiden's songs always had direction and these guys' songs just kind of meander around, and to be honest, don't hold up on repeated listens, and are pretty boring.
First, the good: Wyatt Anderson's vocals are really solid, as I just can't bring myself to hate his Bruce Dickinson-inspired, ball-clenched wailing. He sounds pretty young, but he has a lot of energy and charisma, and can carry these songs pretty well for all their inconsistency otherwise. How many 80s metal styled wailers can we have before the scene just explodes? I don't know, but I think we can still handle a few more.
Part of me wants to criticize this for being so overly cheery, but that isn't White Wizzard's problem – it's that they just don't really know what to do with their songs. They're like dogs chasing cars, to use a cliché from The Dark Knight – they've caught the sound of classic Iron Maiden in their mitts, but they have no idea what to do with it now that they have it. These songs start off promising enough with some good riffs and leads at times, but then they never kick it up a notch or get any sort of groove going. You can't just pile good riffs into a song, you guys; the next part is tying it together and making it count! Too many of these songs, like on the dull "Live Free or Die" and the complete mess that is "Death Race" have no focus at all. Even songs that would otherwise be pretty good, like "Iron Goddess of Vengeance" just diddle around with unfocused bass lines and end up spoiled by happy 80s cheese-rock/metal parts that end up sounding more like a mockery of Iron Maiden than a tribute when you account for the lack of good structure and hook sensibility. Seriously, it's practically unhealthy; it's so damned cutesy and sugary sounding. Some parts, at least.
I know these guys aren't just a bunch of posers, as they really do seem to have their hearts in the right place, but it's just that they don't seem to have really found themselves as a band yet. This sounds more like a band rehearsing and jamming rather than really going for the throat. If they could just stick to a solid rhythm and beat, and write some better vocal lines, they'd be in business. But seriously. This is the band you're saying is the next resurgence of true metal? I have seen several reviewers claim things like that, and I have to say I think they're being a little too quick to pull that particular trigger. Maybe in five or six years when they have a few more albums under their belts, but this album is hardly a saving grace to anything by itself, and there are plenty of other classic metal bands playing in the new millennium that deserve your attention more. This is an OK album at times, but White Wizzard still has some maturing to do in the way of songwriting. Decent at best.
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