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Review: Wishing Well - Rat Race
Wishing Well
Rat Race

Label: Inverse Records
Year released: 2018
Duration: 45:56
Tracks: 10
Genre: Unclassifiable


Review online: June 2, 2018
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (7 Votes)

Sometimes (not often enough) you find a band that is meant to drop your jaw straight on the floor from the moment the first chords come out of the speaker. Finland's Wishing Well is such a band, playing a style that is a bit difficult to put under a certain musical category. The main emphasis is on the NWOBHM and 70s Heavy Rock sounds, which is why I found their second album, Rat Race, so appealing.

Having not heard the band's debut album, Chasing Shadows, released in 2016, I unfortunately don't have any reference point as to how this follow-up compares to it. But from what I have heard after a few determined and concentrated spins, the band is truly on fire on this album.

Wishing Well sound absolutely appealing with their hooky, melodic, catchy and mellow sounding mix of 70s orientated Heavy Rock and NWOBHM, which will make you feel good and get you humming some of the choruses. One of the band's strongest assets is that they keep their songs varied, not sticking to just one predictable mold for too long. The opener, "Wheeling and Dealing" is a fast tempo, pedal-to-the-metal type of song that will get the adrenaline pumping. Then the tempo drops drastically in the next song, "Children of Paradise," even featuring a children's choir at the end.

As the album progresses, things get even sweeter. On "Sleepless Night" it sounds like Deep Purple meets Maiden and Priest, while "Pilgrim Caravan" (probably one of the greatest songs here) showcases these lads' fixation with all things doomy, mysterious sounding and Rainbow's Dio-era, added with slices taken from Candlemass' doomy approach and some oriental melodies. Fuckin' ace stuff right here!

"Rat Race," the album's title track, is meant to rock your socks off, having the kind of melody line in the chorus that is difficult to get out of your head. It doesn't help that vocalist Rafael Castillo does know how to sing straight through to your soul with his slightly nasal-tinged voice. "Falling Out of Love" is pure Rainbow/Deep Purple worship basically, with a psychedelic edge, and modernized a little bit here and there.

Good moments don't stop here. "A Little Dream," having just bongos and acoustic guitar (and some birds' singing in the background), creates quite a nice contrast to everything else on the album as well as working as a prelude to the next song, "Grain of Sand." It's a power ballad with a strong chorus part, accompanied by an organic Hammond-sound that brings the 70s feel to the song. This is one of my personal favorite songs off the whole album. The last two songs don't pale in comparison to the rest. "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down" takes the band back in time once again, offering some sort of an unholy symbiosis of Sabbath and Rainbow (now how hard is that to figure out in your head?). The last song, "The Day of Doom" puts a strange grin on my face due to its groovy Sabbath-esque/early Priest and Maiden-smoking elements. A solid ending for this mesmerizing album.

Well, there's not much else to be said about Rat Race but to go get this, at any cost! At the end of the day, nothing can really beat the nostalgic sound of old-school Heavy Rock/Metal, right dear folks?

More about Wishing Well...
Review: Sin and Shame (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist Anssi Korkiakoski on June 10, 2018 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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