White Wizzard burst onto the scene back in 2009 with their debut album Over The Top, which saw them nominated for a Metal Hammer Golden God among other things. With a very simple goal of bringing heavy metal back to it’s roots and away from the emo and screamo genres that they felt had taken over, they were a straight up metal band in the vein of Iron Maiden and Manowar. A string of line-up changes that has seen bassist Jon Leon as the only original member led to a loss of this momentum which they will be looking to regain with latest release The Devil’s Cut.
Opening with a two minute galloping instrumental track this album instantly brings to mind the aforementioned Maiden. It’s a strange start as it doesn’t actually feel like an introductory track and more like something that has been cut from a much longer song. It all begins to make a bit more sense however, when it runs seamlessly into “Strike the Iron”. The second this track opens we are shown exactly where we stand as Joseph Michaels vocals come in with the ridiculous lyrics “Rising sun meets the misty dark as it penetrates the twilight.” Follow this up with some over the top widdly guitars and you can rest assured we’re in big dumb trad metal territory. There is no denying that it is good fun and the album rarely deviates from this path as it rips it’s way through it’s nine tracks.
If this is not your thing however you’re likely to be sitting wishing that the band had pulled in a really good editor as at times this really drags. This is never more clear than on 9 and a half minute epic closer “The Sun Also Rises”. It starts slowly and builds up but around half way through, when you’ve heard Jake Dryer and Will Wallrer wail away on their guitars for the fifth or sixth time, you really begin to feel like you need a rest. It’s also shown by the fact that the best songs on this album are the shorter ones. Whether it be the, possibly unintentionally, hilarious “Kings of the Highway” or the more rock and roll based “Storm Chaser” the most fun I had was when the tracks were coming in at under 5 minutes (they never actually drop below 4).
If metal begins and ends with Manowar for you I can’t see why The Devil’s Cut wouldn’t be right up your street. It’s big, it’s a bit dumb but it can be hilariously good fun. If however the talk of goblins, orcs and twilights sounds like your idea of hell I’d stay far far away.
For fans of: Manowar, Iron Maiden
Choice cuts: “Storm Chaser”, “Kings of the Highway”