White Wizzard “The Devil’s Cut” – Album Review
While White Wizzard’s The Devil’s Cut may not be an instant classic, it is still an enjoyable record that gets better with each listen.
If there’s one thing that can be said about L.A.’s White Wizzard, it’s that they will stop at nothing to bring their classic metal-inspired sound to the masses. With seemingly endless lineup changes (the only original member is founding bassist Jon Leon) between every album they’ve released, the band has settled on a very talented line-up of musicians to record The Devil’s Cut (06/25/13 Earache/Century Media). However, all that inner turmoil has affected the band’s fun, tongue-in-cheek take on classic metal. With a newfound emphasis on progressive structure and technicality, the band succeeds at showcasing their high level of skill but leaves the listener wishing there were some more memorable songs to be had.
On the instrumental intro “Forging The Steel” White Wizzard display the galloping riffing and twin guitar harmonized attack of British metal kings Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. “Steel” segues right into “Strike the Iron” which may be the fastest track White Wizzard has written. The track has some with a very memorable riffing, great vocals and flow from new singer Joseph Michael, and great leads from lead guitarists Jake Dreyer and Will Wallner. However, it’s around the 3 and half minute mark where the song starts to make a curious change from driving metal to a more progressive, exotic scale and vocal flow which seems to kill the momentum. This also pushes the song length to almost 7 minutes which works against the headbanging drive of the track as it seems to overstay its welcome. This issue seems to return on the other tracks that venture towards the 7 minute mark.
While long song lengths are nothing new to heavy metal, it shows what the band is best at when the standout tracks on The Devil’s Cut are the ones that are more straight and to the point. “Lightning in My Hands”, “The Devil’s Cut” and the Priest-esque “Kings of the Highway” all feature great riffing and the memorable, catchy vocals that White Wizzard did so well on previous albums. The highlight “Torpedo of Truth” showcases the best the album has to offer with impressive guitar leads, intense drumming from Giovanni Durst, and an instantly infectious riff that leaves the listener headbanging throughout.
While previous White Wizzard albums were obviously influenced by the New Wave of British Metal of the 80’s, The Devil’s Cut attempts to hone in on the sound of one band – Iron Maiden. This is readily apparent by the throwback production where the guitars are more crunchy than heavily distorted and the bass is very prominent. While classic metal fans will appreciate the sound, it may leave listeners looking for modern, powerful guitar tones a bit wanting.
While The Devil’s Cut may not be the instant classic that White Wizzard needed to kick their career back into high gear, it is still an enjoyable record that gets better with each listen, which is always a good sign for an album’s longevity.