Third Wish

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As if its over-the-top cover artwork (featuring a demonic figure as frightening as it is comical) wasn't "metallic" enough, the CD booklet of Feinstein's Third Wish shows leather-draped guitarist David "Rock" Feinstein striking a number of amusing poses that make him look like a cross between Ronnie James Dio (his cousin, actually!) and eccentric Meat Loaf collaborator Jim Steinman! Of course, anyone familiar with the guitarist's former exploits as leader of New York City metal institution the Rods (and, earlier still, guitarist for Dio's first major hard rock band, Elf) will be well aware of his very "unmetallic" and oftentimes self-effacing sense of humor -- not to mention explain his decision to utilize his remarkably nerdy last name for this band. Third Wish is his first solo outing, after all, and coming as it does with the blessing of longtime Manowar metal soldier (and executive producer) Joey DeMaio, one should know exactly what to expect. Except, perhaps, surprisingly high-grade heavy metal -- as instantly familiar as it is timeless -- co-authored by Feinstein and guesting Royal Hunt vocalist John West. Together, the duo has crafted ten energetic and majestic heavy metal anthems (plus Feinstein's closing instrumental "Inferno") harking back to the style's 1980s commercial heyday. Among these, "Rebelution," "Live to Ride, Ride to Live," and the title track represent excellent highlights, and it's not at all surprising to recognize traces of metal glories past in additional favorites "Streaming Star" and "Far Beyond" (vintage Judas Priest and Dio, respectively). All in all, Feinstein help make nostalgia respectable and fun with Third Wish.

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