"some music was meant to stay underground..."

WildeStarr - "Arrival" (CD)

WildeStarr - "Arrival" CD cover image

"Arrival" track listing:

1. Rose In The Dark
2. Arrival
3. Touching God
4. Rise
5. Down Of The Sun
6. In This World
7. Generation Next
8. Nevermore
9. Voice In The Silence
10. The Chain

Reviewed by on October 8, 2009

"On the good side, Starr has definitely picked up a thing or two in his time with guitarists like Brad Gillis, David Chastain and Vinnie Moore. "

Despite the impressive metal pedigree of guitarist Dave Starr, his new power metal band WildeStarr's debut "Arrival" is a bit of a crash landing. Starr is most well-known for his stint as the bassist for the pioneering power metal band Vicious Rumors, but has also played with Laaz Rockit and Chastain.

For this outing, he's paired up with singer and keyboardist London Wilde, who's worked mostly behind the scenes as a recording engineer, songwriter and studio vocalist. Unfortunately, Wilde is a big part of the problem with this album, with overblown vocals and cheesy synth parts being the order of the day for her.

On the good side, Starr has definitely picked up a thing or two in his time with guitarists like Brad Gillis, David Chastain and Vinnie Moore. His playing on tracks like "Rose In The Dark" and "In This World" is solid, with a bass-player's dedication to rhythm, and the ability to cut loose like a shredder.

On the rhythm front, Jim Hawthorn's drumming is more than adequate to the task. I find it interesting that Starr, as a bass player, chose to cover up his own playing so much, but there seem to be about 15 guitars playing at the same time in parts of the album, so that may explain it a bit.

London Wilde's keyboards make the album seem dated, with 1980's synth squeals that don't really add anything to the album. Her vocals are a mixed bag at best. I'll concede that Wilde can sing — even sing well; my problem is in how she does it. Everything is sung at maximum volume with absolutely no subtlety. Even in the quiet intro of "Down Of The Sun," she's overpowering everything else. By far, her worst performance is "Rise," in which she screams in a fashion that is supposed to recall her idol Rob Halford, but seems much more Yoko Ono to me.

There's often a heaping helping of cheese in power metal lyrics, and this album has its share. The worst offender comes in the title track, "Arrival," in which "you are the target of a pulsing ion beam."

If I had to pick a favorite track on the album, it'd be "In This World," which has Starr's best riff and Wilde's best lyrics. It's also the one track where her vocals aren't so overpowering. Still, that's not enough to make me recommend WildeStarr's "Arrival" to any but the most fervent power metal fans.

Highs: Starr's playing is uniformly good, with "In This World" standing out.

Lows: London Wilde's vocals are often overblown, with "Rise" being the worst.

Bottom line: Overblown vocals make this one to skip for all but the most faithful power metal fans.

Rated 2.0 out of 5 skulls
2.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)