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Wisdom - "Judas" (CD)

Wisdom - "Judas" CD cover image

"Judas" track listing:

1. Fallin' Away From Grace
2. Somewhere Alone
3. Age Of Lies
4. Live Forevermore
5. Wander The World
6. Heaven And Hell
7. Silent Hill
8. At The Gates
9. the Prodigal Son
10. Judas
11. All Alone (USA Bonus)

Reviewed by on October 18, 2011

"If you can overlook the vocal excess, there's plenty of guitar-y goodness to enjoy."

The great thing about power metal is its willingness to go over the top. From the insanely fleet-fingered arpeggiated guitar solos to the operatic falsetto vocals, it's a genre that embraces its sense of grandiosity. But there really is a point at which there is too much of a good thing — and Wisdom's "Judas" reaches that point when it comes to the vocals.

Gabor Nagy is a more-than-capable power metal vocalist, with a purity of tone in his high range that is enviable on tracks like "Age Of Lies" and "Heaven And Hell" (not a remake of the Black Sabbath classic), which also has some excellent low-end material. His greatest performance comes on the album's gentlest track, the ballad "All Alone."

The problem is that the backing vocals on nearly every track are completely overwhelming. The effect is that it often feels like one is trapped in the middle section of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Take, for example, "Fallin' Away From Grace," in which the chorus seems to consist of an entire choir. "Judas" and "Silent Hill" also suffer for having choruses that almost feel reminiscent of Christmas carols for the vocal excess.

If you can overlook the vocal excess, there's plenty of guitar-y goodness to enjoy. Gabor Kovacs and Zsolt Galambos rip up the fretboards on tracks like the speedy "At The Gates" and the galloping "Wander The World." The restraint they show on the gentle "All Alone" is equally admirable. There's also an excellent almost-thrash quality to the instrumental break in "Fallin' Away From Grace." Also, there's a hint of blues in the solo and groove to "Somewhere Alone" that are quite appealing.

Excellent guitar work can't entirely make up for the overblown vocals on Wisdom's "Judas." That said, there's still enough here that will prove pleasing to power metal fans — even if others might roll their eyes at the excess.

Highs: Excellent guitar playing, with "Somewhere Alone" and "At The Gates" standing out.

Lows: Overwhelming vocals that create an almost campy feeling.

Bottom line: Excellent guitar work, but the vocals are overblown — even by power metal standards.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)