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White Wizzard - "The Devil's Cut" (CD)

White Wizzard - "The Devil's Cut" CD cover image

"The Devil's Cut" track listing:

1. Forging The Steel
2. Strike The Iron
3. Kings Of The Highway
4. Lightning In My Hands
5. Steal Your Mind
6. The Devil's Cut
7. Torpedo Of Truth
8. Storm Chaser
9. The Sun Also Rises

Reviewed by on July 25, 2013

"Expect catchy stellar songwriting, engaging solos and a potent vocal range. It’s the devil’s music….exactly the way it was originally intended."

Genre bullshit aside, as a quickly aging metalhead I have a huge appreciation for the future of my favorite music when the so called “New Wave of Traditional Metal” movement started and continues. After all, when greats like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Saxon have left us only memories, I will be one of the dwindling “World War II” vets that remembers those times first hand. So, hopeful in the fact that a new wave of young bands have decided to create their own traditional base for future generations, I admire any band that is part of that movement – especially bands from the U.S. With that said, of the many traditional titles that grace any given year, there seems to be one that rises above the rest. Last year it was Striker, who blasted my expectations with the highly recommended “Armed to the Teeth.” As for White Wizzard, though I have always been a fan, the last couple didn’t reach out and grab me….but “The Devil’s Cut” rises above and beyond and is the triumphant leader of traditional metal in 2013, barring a blindsiding by another (much like Striker did).

Member changes in a band are common these days and usually it’s benign (exceptions for more notable guitarists, drummers, and vocalists). White Wizzard performed a surgical overhaul in the last couple of years, adding a new twin guitar team and a new vocalist - a risky endeavor indeed. However, this is precisely what the band needed to exceed the levels of the 2008 self-titled EP and “Over the Top” two years later. The “new guys” – guitarists Jake Dreyer and Will Wallner and vocalist Joseph Michael – are just what the doctor ordered, proving the endearing strength of engaging rhythms, fantastic solos, and one of the finest young voices in metal today.

“Forging the Steel” sets up like a ladle filed with molten metal approaching the blast furnace opener “Strike the Iron.” Right away, Michael charges out of the gate with a superior smooth classy vocal style, and holy shit can this man sing. With Ronnie James Dio as his cousin twice removed the apple may be far from the tree, but it certainly falls close. There is such a maturity level with his style that it’s better heard than written about. Some singers live in the high range to the point of annoyance, but Joseph sits back and uses it like a ninja – and when he unleashes it – BANG! Just check out “Strike the Iron” from 3:44 to 4:12, where he rides the guitar with his voice and ends it with one of the best metal screams since the late David Wayne.

The album is littered with rockin’ metal tunes that draw influences from all the greats – Maiden, Priest, Dio…you name it. Melody and engaging songwriting are best shown in “Lightning in My Hands,” “Torpedo of Truth,” and album favorite “Kings of the Highway.” Though I found the first verse of “Storm Chaser” a tad awkward for a brief moment on the second half, the bridge and chorus is among the best on the album. The closer “The Sun Also Rises” has a driving riff that is still stuck in my mind as I write this.

Phenomenal is just a word, but it’s the only word that clearly defines “The Devil’s Cut.” If you prefer your metal in a style that unwittingly and very fittingly pays tribute to the greatest of all time – you would do yourself a disservice to pass this album up. This isn’t a release that would do anything for extreme metal lovers, however. Expect catchy stellar songwriting, engaging solos, and a potent vocal range. It’s the devil’s music….exactly the way it was originally intended.

Highs: A tribute to the greatness of metal's past and hope for the future.

Lows: "Traditional" for some is just another word for "bland."

Bottom line: White Wizzard seduces you with a the high quality stash - "The Devil's Cut."

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)