|Review: White Wizzard - High Speed GTO|
|High Speed GTO|
Label: Earache Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: February 8, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
for:High Speed GTO
Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (12 Votes)
Quite a few bands have released "retro" albums, recently. Split Heaven, High Spirits and Sacred Blade are just a couple of the ones I've reviewed in the last few months. For the most part they stick with a European/NWOBHM sound, and who can blame them? It is a tried and true formula. Less followed is the path blazed by early U.S. acts, possibly because U.S. Heavy Metal quickly fractured into the more commercial "Hair/Glam" style, like Motley Crue and Twisted Sister (Oh no, not another one – Ed.), and the less commercial Thrash of Metallica, Megadeth, Overkill and others. Sure, we had Dio and a few less successful acts like Armored Saint and Omen, but Europe has been, and continues to be, where it's at for straight up Heavy Metal.
Now, along comes L.A.'s White Wizzard. Don't get nervous because of where they're from, White Wizzard bring the goods on their debut, High Speed GTO. There is undoubtedly a European influence, mostly in White Wizzards's Maiden-inspired twin guitar sound and Jon Leon's attention-grabbing bass work. Iron Maiden are obviously huge source of inspiration for White Wizzard, but I also hear quite a bit of early, Guy Speranza-era Riot, circa Fire Down Under, especially in the song structure and James Paul Luna's vocals. The lyrics are U.S.-flavored (cars, girls, monsters) as well. The songs are simple and catchy as the flu on an inter-continental airline flight. The choruses on "High Speed GTO" and "Octane Gypsy" will stick for days. And try to keep your hands still during the back and forth guitar solos on "Megalodon." If you've never played air guitar before, White Wizzard will have you quickly shredding an air Flying V. This is fun stuff.
The entire band, except bassist Leon, has moved on since the release of High Speed GTO. The new lineup has recorded the band's follow up album, due for release sometime in March (for the U.S.) Any worries that the band might change direction or lose the focus that made High Speed GTO such an enjoyable EP are completely unwarranted. Having seen White Wizzard opening up the Korpiklaani/Tyr/Swashbuckle tour back in January, I can assure you, the new lineup is even better than the one that was responsible for High Speed GTO and the new songs kill!
Overall, High Speed GTO is highly entertaining, if a bit uneven in the songwriting. It is well worth a look by any fan of 80s Heavy Metal or, really, anyone into plain, great Heavy Metal. Oh, and check out the videos for "High Speed GTO" and the new song "Over the Top" on the band's page on the Earache website (also in the Video Zone right here – Ed.). The 80s live again!
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