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Review: Wizard - Thor

Label: Massacre Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 49:25
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: March 28, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4/5 (80%) (9 Votes)

Finally, Wizard have gotten themselves out of the rut they have been in since 2005. Their fifth album, Odin, was the best one they had ever produced, and I was one of those waiting eagerly to see if they could equal it. After the terrible Magic Circle and the just passable Goochan, I was ready to write this band off permanently. Fortunately, Wizard do not seem to be done yet, as Thor takes up where Odin left off.

The X factor here seems to be longtime guitarist Michael Maass, who left the band due to health reasons just after Odin was released and only recently returned. Apparently Wizard can't really do anything good without him. Thor is the first Wizard album in almost six years to sound like a real Heavy Metal album: pounding drums and chugging guitars signal that this is an unabashed metal album – no ballads or stupid groove to be found anywhere. From the shredding opener "Utgard" Wizard remind us of why we liked them in the first place, right through other memorable tunes like "Asgard", "Serpent's Venom" and "Lightning". The chorus on "Midguard's Guardian" may be silly, but the song slays anyway. I could wish for a heavier guitar sound, as the production is a bit weak, but it is miles better than the sound on their last two discs. Even Sven sounds better than usual.

Thor does not quite have the epic sweep of Odin, and there is no song here to match "Dead Hope", but here we have the sound of Wizard digging in and making a Wizard album, not trying to sound like some other bullshit. That alone is worth the price of admission, as these guys haven't made an album this entertaining in years. Worthy.

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