Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flying High Again

White Wizzard - Flying Tigers

Earache Records 2011

Bangers, one of the leaders of the NWOTHM is back with their second full length release and the question is did they succumb to the dreaded sophomore album slump or did they rise to the occasion. The Metal Blog of Metal is happy to report that White Wizzard’s new album Flying Tigers is even better than their superb first album Over The Top. The band has kept their core sound intact but has added some progressive elements to make one of the best albums of 2011.

Once again Jon Leon has written all the songs and plays all the guitars and bass on the album. Wyatt “Screaming Demon” Anderson is still on vocals and Giovanni Durst is back on drums. It should be noted that Anderson does not tour with the band and as a result, Mikey Gremio (formerly of Cellador) is the touring vocalist. I had the good fortune to see White Wizzard on tour this summer and Gremio does a great job with both the James Paul Luna tracks as well as the Wyatt Anderson material. He also works the crowd well and goes to great lengths to get the audience involved in the show. The picture belows shows yours truly (the bearded fellow with the super-awesome Acccept shirt) with the touring lineup of White Wizzard.

The new album, Flying Tigers, is composed of two parts with the first six tracks being thematically unrelated and the last six tracks are tied together by the same concept. Prior to the release of Flying Tigers, Jon Leon had mentioned in interviews that he was listening to a lot of Rush and my guess is he wanted to emulate 2112’s suite of seven songs. I admit that I had trepidation about the concept tracks before I heard them because I can’t stand concept albums. I find them to be turgid affairs full of crap tracks and end up being masturbatory wastes of time. Luckily White Wizzard knows both Metal and how to craft a killer album that maintains the listener’s interest.

The album kicks into gear with “Fight To The Death” which is a fast burner of a track with a message or fighting for what you believe in and never giving up. Next up is “West L.A. Nights” which is an ode to rocking in the City of Angels and hanging out at the Rainbow Bar and Grill. “Starchild” is not about Paul Stanley but is the first single from the album and it’s a ballad. Now don’t let this worry you as it’s a ballad in the tradition of Iron Maiden’s “Children Of The Damned” or Judas Priest’s “Beyond The Realms Of Death.” I really dig this song as it starts out slowly but builds to a fantastic climax by its end. I salute White Wizzard for having the balls to release a ballad as their first single. Check it out for yourself below:

The title track is a speedy number about the 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force who fought against the Imperial Japanese in 1941-1942. “Night Train To Tokyo” is about a Japanese lady and is chock full of superb bass work and hooks galore. The non-concept portion of the album wraps up with “Night Stalker” which is an excellent track that would have been right at home on Killers with its cranking delivery.

The next six tracks are all linked conceptually with lyrics that involve Atlantis, ancient aliens, demons, The New World Order, warfare and a star man’s son. What’s it all about? I have no idea really as my promo copy has no lyrics but frankly, it doesn’t matter as each track is excellent and could stand on it’s own. That is high praise for concept albums which usually have tons of filler tracks as transitions in the storyline. White Wizzard have successfully crafted a concept suite that holds the listeners attention the entire time. My favorite cut off of the last album was the epic “Iron Goddess of Vengeance” and these six tracks remind of that song writ large.

Iron Maiden should listen to Flying Tigers for tips on how to craft another progressive album that is not a total snooze-fest (cough – The Final Frontier – cough.) We are served riff after tasty riff with varied tempos, shredding solos, a thundering bass and killer vocals. I can’t imagine that this is a Metal fan on earth that won’t like this album as it is pure metallic excellence with not one filler track. I never reach for the skip button in the car which is a real test of an album for me. It flows well with a superb mixture of the progressive and the aggressive.


The Bottom Line: Flying Tigers is an amazing slab of pure steel and is another superb release from White Wizzard. I encourage everyone to go out and buy this release when it hits the racks in the United States and if you are in Europe get it now because it’s already out. Jon Leon and crew once again have earned our support so back these defenders of the faith with your hard earned coin.


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