I think it’s no secret that metal bands can have a variety of lineups. For whatever reason, band members come and go pretty frequently. For White Wizzard it’s basically become a meme in and of itself for them. The band has gone through it’s fair stretch of changes until the hiatus of 2014. But Jon Leon, the lifeblood of the band, has not let any of that stop his passion, and now we’re looking at their return. Their new album, Infernal Overdrive, is the big return of White Wizzard. Fronting the vocals is returning member Wyatt “Screamin’ Demon” Anderson, a fan favorite and absent from the band for a while. In all, it seems like a perfect storm for the return album.
From the get go, this album is the kind of thing that makes me want to destroy a building. It is fast and powerful and gets me amped up from the beginning track. Most impressive to me, it’s not necessarily angry music. You can certainly hear the passion, and sometimes the wrath, in it, but it never gives off a negative vibe. The individual pieces fit together so well on this album. Anderson’s voice is worthy of the praise he gets. It’s like the lovechild of Brian Johnson and Ozzy Osbourne circa Black Sabbath all while being entirely his own unique entity. His wailing and screaming fits the music masterfully and makes each song an enjoyable punch in the face. The guitar sound is top notch, shredding while also keeping a recognizable melody. For all the power in this album, it never drops the relatable musicality that makes so many songs stick in your head. With that in mind, I am equally impressed that they can keep this quality up with such a variety in their songs. They go from thrashing breakdowns to power metal to rock ballads all on the same album and all with the same level of polish.
The only real issue I have with the album is the occasional pacing missteps. A number of the songs have stretches where things slow down after a fast paced section. These are supposed to act as breather moments, letting the listener catch their breath before finishing out strong. And normally I like that feeling; but I don’t think it fits the energy of this album. The entirety of Infernal Overdrive is summed up in that title. The energy is cranked to the max and everything, theoretically, should feel that breakneck pace. When these songs slow down, it pulls me out of the flow and instead feels like wasted time. These breaks don’t seem necessary. As mentioned above, White Wizzard provides a variety of styles within their music. That alone breaks up the monotony in an artistic way. I would have loved if they kept the petal to the floor all the way through.
White Wizzard delivers a hard hitting, head-banging example of heavy metal. The album is a wide variety of styles supported by fantastic artistry. It’s great to hear Anderson back and his voice makes this band return all that more special. Other than one or two criticisms, I seriously enjoyed this album. I definitely recommend checking out this album. There’s a lot to love here. Returning from the hiatus, Infernal Overdrive shows just how good they can be.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommendations: Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Judas Priest
If you want to see more from White Wizzard check out our interview with them here.