Over The Top, by White Wizzard

Pros: Heavy metal at it’s best: metal voice, killer guitar, epic bass lines, grooving and accenting drums.

Cons: Some repetition later on in the album.

The Bottom Line: Terrific album, blows the water out of a good amount of modern metal you see nowadays. It has some minor flaws, but does well despite this.

Hailing from LA comes a brand new group White Wizzard, boasting an Iron Maiden + Judas Priest + Dio fusion of metal and melting faces of anyone daring enough to give their music a listen. Over The Top is their sophomore album, and it contains almost an entirely new lineup than their first album, High Speed GTO. However, there have been no impediments in their music-making ability. What you expected from the original White Wizzard shows in full in Over The Top, just with a different voice.

The album starts out with a real slap in the face, giving no bullshit slow building intro, but instead blasting you right into the first riff of the song. The first track differs a lot from the rest of the album, it just has a different feel to it, a different kind of heav metal. But this isn’t a bad thing at al, it sounds great. The vocals sound terrific and do not get tiresome, and compete with the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Dio, dare I say it.. The guitar solos are somewhat modest, supporting musicality as opposed to complete shredding, which is 100% welcome in my opinion. The drums provide a steady beat through the song, though they don’t stand out at all. The bass is often accenting the guitarist, and it sounds great so I won’t criticize.
Overall, I’d give Over The Top an 8/10.

Next comes 40 Deuces, arguably the greatest song on the album. It’s fast-paced and makes you just wanna pick up a guitar, shred like hell, and then smash it against a wall, even if you can’t play. It’ll also undoubtedly have you singing endlessly within just a few listens. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this song. It’s metallic guitar riffs along with it’s galloping and skillful bass lines provide possibly the best 21st century NWOBHM/Heavy Metal- style song I’ve heard. Also, the drums are definitely more commendable in this song, giving just the right kick and beat that can’t be ignored.
Overall, I’d give 40 Deuces a 10/10.

With High Roller, they change up the pace from the fast and relentless to a slightly slower, more groovy song. The guitars work in this song to create a good melody while the bass and drums collectively create a nice groovy foundation. Guitar work in this song is top knotch, and no musicality is sacrificed in the showy musicianship. Choruses are abundant, but the repetition isn’t unwelcome, they make it work. The vocals are nothing to complain about. While they may not be as terrific as the previous two tracks, they do their part and do not disappoint. This song is a good change in pace for the album, and helps with its progression.
Overall, I’d give High Roller an 8/10

Next comes Live Free or Die, with a promising intro that lets you know that you’re in for a real classic sounding song. The title alone, which is a repeated lyric in the chorus, screams that fact. It’s a very bass-heavy track, which is also a good slight change in pace. It’s welcome, however do the other instruments compare? Guitar work is basic, often modeling after the vocals, or doing some pretty decent and creative work, especially in the solo. The drums are good as well, but at this point they’re expected to be like this. The drum work provides good accents in the music, but not that much more can be said about it. Vocals get repetitive after a handful of choruses.
Overall, I’d give Live Free or Die a 7/10.

And then comes the epic Iron Goddess of Vengeance. This song does the genre of heavy metal great justice, and is a slower song in general, again a good switch so things don’t get boring. An epic bass + guitar duet greet you for the intro, which leads into a steady pace until it reaches the point of the actual song, because it doesn’t return to any part of the intro during any part of the song. A good galloping bass line coupled with held guitar chords give a nice, classic feel with a steady tempo that’ll undoubtedly have you tapping your foot. The pitch of the vocals are exactly comparable with the fusion of bass and guitar, and it fits seamlessly. The fairly extensive guitar solo has is executed without repetition and without getting stale, which is praiseworthy considering its length. In the final two minutes of the song, the song transitions to a different, fresh verse and yet another guitar solo, neither of which get stale. This song is an awesome track that I’m sure even the great Dio would have loved to listen to.
Overall, I give Iron Goddess of Vengeance a 9/10.

Out of Control follows, and this is the track that would most often be stuck in my head. It’s unbelievably catchy and is undeniably one of the strongest tracks on the album, and finally does the drummer some justice. The drums and vocals are put in the spotlight during a handful of verses, and its really a very drum-focused track. The song has a good beat, along with very memorable work from the rest of the band. The song is all about heavy metal, and the music in no way insults the lyric topic.
Overall, I give Out of Control
a 10/10, although that might just be because it’s so damn catchy.

Here’s another catchy little tune that I like to compare to Out of Control. Up next is Strike of the Viper, with a slightly heavier feel than the rest of the album. The main riff is perfect, with an excellent balance of rhythm and melody, as is the same with the chorus. The vocals fit well, and I often find myself singing the chorus without even realizing. Bass is in the spotlight in this song, as it constantly spits out the main riff and still doesn’t get repetitive. Guitar work is in line with the bass, as it is often the same. And, as usual, the drums do their job, but maybe nothing more.
Overall, I give Strike of the Viper an 8/10

Heavy metal is constantly equated with hot rods, long hair, and the mental image of driving through an abandoned highway while singing and playing guitar. Well Death Race depicts this perfectly. This song is about an epic race to the death (the title totally didn’t give that one away), and is absolutely stereotypical metal. The lyrics aren’t just inserted into the song though, the song fits the lyrics well. Especially around 2:40, where guitar takes over along with sound effects to really give you the image of a speeding dragster. The rest of the song follows suit with the fast pace and racing feel, and masters it well. The ending of the song provides the imagery of finale of the race, and the demise of a racer.
Overall, I give Death Race a 9/10.

And finally, White Wizzard is here to finish off the album. No really, the song’s name is White Wizzard. Since it’s named after the band, and since it’s the finale of the album, wouldn’t you like to think that it’s possibly the greatest song on the album? I would have liked to think so, but by no means is it the strongest. It certainly isn’t a weak track, but it pales in comparison to previous tracks on the album. Sadly, some repetition towards the end of the song lessens the experience of an otherwise great song. However, the song contains some of the most interesting instrument work in the entire album, and is definitely commendable. The riffs are powerful and the entire song, for that matter, is just undeniably hard hitting. However, at the end, they made too much of a good thing. The ending riff is fantastic, I love it. But they over did it, they repeated it too much. But besides that fact, it really is a solid track, but it doesn’t quite live up to the expectations I had for a self-titled final track. Regardless, it is still a great song to listen to, and makes a good addition to the album.
Overall, I give White Wizzard a 7.5/10.

Also, although this not the limited edition album, I will include some review of the two tracks that came with the limited edition. The tracks are:
1. Gate of Gehenna (Cloven Hoof cover)
2. Heading Out to the Highway (Judas Priest cover)

I’ll make the reviews brief, as odds are this will go unneeded. But just in case…

Gates of Gehenna is really a great song, however I personally can not compare it to the original, because I’m not going to pretend that I know it when I don’t. The song in itself though is awesome, With vocals ruling the song. When you listen to it you can instantly tell it’s not White Wizzard’s original work, because it’s really very different in certain areas like some vocal style and guitar work.

Heading Out to the Highway, dare I say it, may just be better than the original. Before you start trolling with “nothing beats the original Judas Priest!! gtfon00b!”, give it a listen and see for yourself. Personally I like the vocals better than the original. Also, White Wizzard takes some creative liberties on a couple parts of the song, adding a little bit more flare to the song than Priest’s version had. This is the song on the album that I can never get out of my head, and it’s always welcome to come up on shuffle on my iPod.

Overall, the bonus tracks of the album are no disappointment and are enjoyable to listen to, especially if you’re feeling nostalgic.

White Wizzard really showed that they can make an imprint in the heavy metal world with this album, and I can’t wait for another album from them. I highly recommend this album for ANY fan of heavy metal, it’s well worth the money and provides some much-needed hope for today’s music industry.

Overall: 8.5/10

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