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Friday, March 12, 2010

Wilde Starr Debut CD Review

Wilde Starr Debut CD Review (Furnace Maximus Records)

This San Francisco, Bay Area project Wilde Starr is the brainchild of female vocalist / keyboardist London Wilde and metal veteran guitarist Dave Starr. The two are ably supported here by drummer Jim Hawthorne.

Self described as Power metal meets Symphonic metal along the lines of Judas Priest, Queensryche, Dream Theater and a former band of Dave Starr’s Vicious Rumors, to name a few, is an interesting mix. I will say this is not my typical listening, but with Dave Starr’s background of having played with the aforementioned Vicious Rumors (Which at one point boasted Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis as a member), Laaz Rockit, Chastain, Press and Destillery caught my curiosity along with a new (To me) female vocalist, in London Wilde.

"Arrival' is a dark affair, of that there is no doubt, the albums artwork, the creepy intro ‘noises’ of ‘Rose In The Dark’ and London Wilde …Well, it’s funny at times I think Evanescence, Nightwish and … Tony Mills (Shy) from way back even Tygers of Pan Tangs, Jon Deverill, as well as hints of early Geoff Tate (Queensryche) but musically it’s intense, early Judas Priest perhaps, Iron Maiden too but heavier and really darker. Sometime though, Starr’s harmonizing guitar solos bring to mind Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and even Night Ranger, yes, all in the first song! Well, it is seven and a half minutes long and does get a little repetitive.

Title track ‘Arrival’ next starts again eerily, with some astronaut like voices before getting into the dark musical territory again. Here Wilde’s voice is to a point, scary! I do hear elements of Dream Theater about this now I think about it and that strong symphonic stabbing keyboard sound throughout. Another lengthy track at just under six minutes. I will say, I do like elements of this, like the aforementioned solos’ from Starr, but sometimes musically, the overall tracks can become a little ‘over and over’ and not really grabbing me with any hook.

‘Touching God’ starts with a little offbeat drumming before getting into the dark eeriness again, with bells tolling and some guitar work that reminds me a little of Ozzy players Randy Rhoads and Zakk Wylde a little, while some of Wilde’s delivery reminds me of Dio. It’s weird but the lyrics describe someone having been slaying people

Wow! London Wilde ‘screeching’ in next track ‘Rise’ is simply terrifying! Holy …!
This track is tough to get through to be honest … Phew! Again, a really intense track in structure. Pummeling drums drive all these tracks throughout, rarely easing up at all.

‘Down Of The Sun’ starts making me think, ah, maybe they’ve actually got a rock ballad here but no, it soon picks up where everything goes and drives at a pace, although it’s possibly the closest they’ve come to taking the pace down a little.
Again, Starr’s solo sounds good here and Wilde’s voice is reaching without really destroying you as ‘Rise’ did.

With ‘In This World’ it’s almost a similar less intense pace as ‘Down Of The Sun,’ again there is no doubting the range of London Wilde’s voice, it’s can soar high and impress, but also sometimes it’s low enough to sound like many strong metal vocalist who attack with a lower range.

There’s something in ‘Generation Next’ almost punky, yet almost reaching a Metallica type attack in it, but again we have those harmonizing guitar parts that are so strong and change the theme a little.

‘Nevermore’ starts soulfully with acoustic guitar, before a soaring harmony lead solo reaches out before the full band kicks in at a slower pace than typical elsewhere here, but huge power chords give the metallic sound you come to expect here. Yet again Wilde’s voice reaches a screech just before Starr’s solo here.

‘Voice In The Silence’ is a mid paced track, driven in the choruses with a vocal reaching heights not unlike the previously mentioned Geoff Tate or early Rob Halford, while the verses keep the song at a steady range.

Closing track, ‘The Chain’ hits you like a train out of the blocks, serious metal here!

A seriously metallic release, bound to impress the metal masses, not really for me, but there’s no doubting the clear ability of these guys, some seriously nice guitar work and London Wilde’s vocals, wow, scary, dark and strong, but sometimes they just destroy you!

Rating: 3 out of 5

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