White Wizzard

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This iteration of White Wizzard shares only one member -- the bassist -- with the one that recorded 2009's seven-song High Speed GTO EP, and based on the auditory evidence, that's a good thing. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal riffs and galloping tempos are even sharper and more headlong than they were before, the new vocalist's upper-register yowls are utterly convincing, and the band as a whole is a tight riffing machine. There's plenty of dual-guitar lead action, including traded solos, too, which is always a plus. The lyrics, of course, are patent nonsense, with songs like "Live Free or Die" and the title track offering positive-thinking mantras Ronnie James Dio would love. They have their own theme song, too; "White Wizzard" kicks off with a doomy intro, quickly becoming a midtempo, primarily instrumental anthem with a prominent bassline in the classic Iron Maiden style. On this album, White Wizzard aren't much more than the sum of their influences, but they do hark back to a time before grunge (even before hair metal) when metal was fun, and that's something.

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