White Wizzard - Infernal Overdrive
By: Dustin Koetsch
It’s been nearly 5 years since White Wizzard's last full studio album. A band that has been plagued with endless line up changes and a myriad of other unfortunate events that would have made most other bands just give up and move on, but not White Wizzard. No, the band uses all the mystical forces of their arcane heavy metal wizard powers to endure through the years and arise more powerful than before in 2018 to write an equal part, epic, fist raising, head banging, riff smashing, album.
“Infernal Overdrive” sounds like it would be right at home being released in the 80’s along side bands like Iron Maiden and Dio era Sabbath. But it also has its modern production values that really make every instrument just come alive with its own voice, with songs that have such catchy chorus’s and verse sections. There's enough solid old school sounding guitar riffs in the rhythm section but composed with a more modern sense of urgency that wasn’t prevalent in the 80’s. This album feels like a pure, raw, unaltered, heavy metal album. There’s nothing fancy or “game changing” (and I mean that as a compliment) with the style of music they play. But the band takes enough chances with their song writing to really make something “old” sound brand new again.
There's so many tracks that just feel epic in scale with the rising rhythm patterns infused with screaming lead guitar solos. Tracks like “Storm the Shores”, “Chasing Dragons”, and “Voyage of the Wolf Raiders” are all steeped in fantasy infused lyrics and the rhythm guitar just brings the songs alive with their frenetic pacing and that's when the blistering guitar solos come at you from nowhere and cast their aural spell on you, entrancing your ears with every note played. These tracks are the stand outs on this album, each one is prodigious in sound and scope and worthy of just singing along at the top of your lungs trying to do your best impression of Wyatt Anderson’s vocals while simultaneously playing air guitar and head banging to each solo that James LaRue shreds out with lighting wizzard speed.
The only downside for me to “Infernal Overdrive” is the last few tracks really start to slow down in pace compared to the first half of the album. The songs are still good and layered with some real depth in terms of additional keyboard work on a couple songs. But by the time you get to the last song it feels like the album just slowed down the more it progressed. I wonder if mixing up the tracks in a different configuration would help the album sound more balanced and nuanced with the “fast” tracks vs the more “slow” ones.
“Infernal Overdrive” really and truly showcases a band who shook off all the struggles the band has endured and took their time over the past 5 years to come up with more ideas than ever to write an excellent old school infused heavy metal album.
Pre Order “Infernal Overdrive” HERE before it releases on January 12th.
“Infernal Overdrive” gets a 7/10