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Review: Custard - Wheels Of Time
Wheels Of Time

Label: Mausoleum Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 47:58
Tracks: 11
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: March 25, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Wheels Of Time

Rated 3.2/5 (64%) (5 Votes)

I never thought I'd ever come across a metal band with name as appalling as Fist, but by gum have Custard won the cheese. Man oh man. Out of all the lyrical topics this genre proliferates surely these Germans could have come up with something better; they could have still retained the confectionary theme: Rock Salt, Cathedral City – anything besides their rich, creamy moniker. This might not be as speculative to them as it is to myself, yet egregious epithets aside, Custard's latest is actually quite endearing if not a cut above.

Firmly fixing themselves in the happy Euro power metal mould, their battering sound is sculpted unpretentiously from the pieces of clay Helloween, Edguy and Metalium forgot to work into their respective masterpieces. At times "Wheels of Time" is rather well defined, with a good sense of animation bleeding the tracks together. There is very little here you'd be unfamiliar with if you harbour a predilection for this sort of thing – so much of the material on offer is bordering on plagiarism that they'd need a defence attorney – but there is no need to chastise them for taking a shot at their favourite genre. The guitars squeal a little too much for my liking and vocalist Guido Brieke has one of those voices that could shatter a vase, and liquefy it into windows. Unfortunately, he uses his squeaky upper range profusely, and considering he has difficultly singing in harmony, a lot of the choruses suffer. His Tobias Sammet-esque lower range is very admirable however, and those diminutive moments in the raging bridge of "Inner Void" are almost worth the admission price alone, as they say.

The professional production job lifts the album above usual standard and some of the cheeky melodies ala Helloween's "Rise and fall" are rather amusing to say the least. Amongst the quite obvious Helloween rehashes -"Sunrise" – Christ on a bike! – Custard has some extremely catchy melodic metal buried beneath its skin; in "Fade Out" they have one of the best tracks of the genre I've heard since the "Keepers…" era, and guitarists Holger Simon and Karsten Knuppel are a formidable duo, parrying their heavenly harmonies and lightning fast riffs like duelling swordsmen. Terrible name, terrible logo but decent product. What's next Germany; the new hope in epic symphonic fantasy metal – Rice Pudding?

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