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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Reviews: Christopher Lee, White Wizzard, New Device

Christopher Lee: Charlemagne: The Omens Of Death (Charlemagne Productions Ltd)

With this being Sir Christopher Lee's second album I was expecting more of the symphonic style metal of his first Charlemagne album, unfortunately two things struck me when I pushed play, the first was that the narration and orchestral parts that made the first album very good had gone and they had been replaced by just the few guest singers and some strong Judas Priest style metal (which could be because the musical arrangements come from current Priest axe-man Ritchie Falkner) while this has streamlined the album, it does mean that it seems a little less like an event which suited the performance style of Lee, who is at his best when he has large film-like orchestral swells with a metal edge. The second thing that struck me is that this album isn't new, it is not a sequel to the first album  I thought it was going to be. It's the same album; I mean EXACTLY the same, the same songs, in the same order (albeit with different names) with the same lyrics and guest singers as there were on the debut. This was very disappointing as it seemed a bit of a cop-out that this album is just a more metal rehash of the first album. yes the music is good and Lee has a very strong voice for a man of 91 but if this had been the debut then it would have been good however because the debut already exists this just seems to be money making exercise aimed at those who thought the first album wasn't 'metal' enough. 6/10

White Wizzard: The Devil's Cut (Earache)

White Wizzard have returned and they have changed their line-up yet again since their last album Flying Tigers with a new singer in the form of the screamer Joseph Michael, a new drummer and two new lead guitarists. The only member remaining is Bassist/rhythm guitarist Jon Leon who makes no bones about White Wizzard being his band which could be the reason for many line up changes but I digress. On the previous release White Wizzard split the album with half being their brand of galloping early Iron Maiden like heavy metal and the second half being more of their more progressive latter years. This album is shorter than it's predecessor but it mixes the more progressive aspects on the opening salvo of Strike The Iron which is full of time signature changes and lots of little electronic samples, the middle track of the slow burning Steal Your Mind and the final track of a 9 minute epic in the style of Hallowed Be They Name it's these three tracks that are the most progressive pacing the album excellently, the rest of the tracks are full pelt, rampaging heavy metal with Leon providing the meaty bass and rhythm guitar riffage, Giovanni Durst doing his best McBrain smashing and the twin leads of Jake Dreyer and Will Waller pull solo's galore on tracks like Lightning In My Hands, Storm Chaser and the title track. I do hope that White Wizzard maintain this line up for future albums as it is strong especially with vocalist Michael who has tremendous voice. Another strong album in the White Wizzard catalogue yes they are generic but they are also fun. 8/10

New Device: Here We Stand (Abstract Sounds)

London band New Device have come back with their first new album since 5 years and it's the same but different. The line up has changed but singer, songwriter, producer, guitarist Daniel Leigh remains and as New Device is his brainchild it's only proper that he does. As far as sound goes New Device are aiming straight at  the American radio with a sound somewhere between Buckcherry, Metallica, Fall Out Boy (mainly from Leigh's vocals) and 30 Seconds To Mars. The band have a distinct heaviness with a three guitar attack providing the big metallic riffs on the title track, Away From Here, On Your Knees and Feel The Wrath but they also have some massive hooks especially vocally Leigh has a fantastic voice which are the obvious high point of the band. The band are not just about heavy hook filled metal they have a soft side as well with lots of chart bothering ballads like New York, the orchestral Do Or Die, and the massive arena anthem of Another Life which is where the 30STM influence comes in. In between this there are some more hard rock style tracks like the single Save Your Life which does have all the hallmarks of a number one. This album is a bit ballad heavy, which could be because of their aim to be arena headliners and if they keep evolving and mixing the heaviness with the more radio-friendly stuff then they will achieve that goal. 8/10

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