Wiszdom Stone - Rise 4/5

Reviewed: 6-26-09


1. Rise
2. Floods and fires
3. Unforgiven
4. Take this cup
5. Without faith
6. The sky is falling
7. The battle rages
8. Mourning loss
9. Eyes open
10. U should not fear

Wisconsin's Wiszdom Stone have finally released their official full-length debut CD comprising classics from last year's 'The battle rages on' EP, and their 2007 demo. Mainstay musicians and chief songwriters - guitarist and bassist Ray Luokka, and drummer Brian Noonan, have gathered together a whole host of talent to perfect their opus 'Rise'.

They have created a solid CD sure to satisfy fans of traditional 80s metal acts like Crimson Glory, Fates Warning, Fifth Angel and Leatherwolf, as well as inspire fans of the more renown progressive acts like Dream Theater, Evergrey, Symphony X and especially Kamelot. There is a prominent cascading cavalcade of influences permeating, and shining light through the cracks. This allows for a more honest and illuminating perspective.

The silver-tongued soulspeak of Andre' Beaudot creates a vocal style which is very polished and pronounced. He has quite a range and pitch, even reminding me of some of the hard rockin' acts of the past like Lillian Axe, Hurricane or House of Lords. In fact, I would definitely make associations with soaring falcons like Kelly Hansen (Hurricane), James Christian (House of Lords), Rob Rock, Geoff Tate, James LaBrie, and their ilk.

The lyrics and subject matter concern profound spiritual themes, and attitudes. Unlike the various overlapping projects of Rob Rock, there is no proselytizing or religious persuasion present. The written word resonates with a more mettlephysical quality. The lyrics follow a train of thought which never become too preachy, or in your face. The words of wisdom are sincere messages which portend to a deeper truth, providing food for thought, with a blinding stone cold call. The essence of the one peace cosmic puzzle of life is merely mirrored to the mettle heart, in this mettle milieu. This creates an open and inviting aspect, assuaging the darkness, commonly associated with metal music.

The CD begins its keen wisdom tone with the alluring anthem "Rise", which is a strong, vibrant, and uplifting choice to commemorate the noble gathering of supreme talent, mindful melodies, and slight magick. Next up is the incursion of "Floods and fires", an eschatological account of one's own personal journey. Here the individual is strongly encouraged to seek higher ground, and attain an elevated sense of awareness.

The metallic accretion of "Unforgiven" heretofore serves as the band's anthem with its catchy chorus, sung with Marc Swann who contributes his harmony accolades. This guy is rifling through each word, along with Andre', creating and recreating a loudblast ballast of pure energy and emotion. The agonizing supplication of "Take this cup" recalls Christ's suffering in Gethsemane, and echoes the Lord's Prayer, with a more subjective sense of self reflection. The message gleaned, and intuited, is that pride will pull you under, lest you re-evaluate your ego based choices in life. It is only a matter of time before destiny catches up to you, and cashes in our your harvested sorrow.

"The battle rages" focuses on the so-called spiritual warfare and inner struggle for sanity. The truth be told, "You literally must be out of your mind, to find peace." Letting go of all the thought chatter creates inner peace and tranquility. As the ol' adage goes, "You must go within, or go without." Guest musician Brent Taritas performs the glistening guitar solo. He also adds lead work on "Without faith", which would be Wiszdom Stone's other soul theme. Faith, Hope, and Love are what allows for us to witness the divine in one another. Faith comes from the Greek term pistis meaning "firm persuasion" or "a conviction based upon hearing". This is the etymology for the philosophical term epistemology.

According to James Van Praagh's 'Unfinished Business'(his latest spiritual account), dealing with those who have gone before us, "Faith is something you believe with your total being. It is a sense of knowing and really giving yourself over to something... pure trust."

"The sky is falling" begins with a Megadeth bass sound, and becomes the most transcendental sojourn, echoing pure Crimson Glory epic era motifs, with just a hint of ASKA, attending to her melodic meanderings. Don Wolfe's bass tactics, and key arrangements really contribute a quality mix all throughout the CD. The mindcrime motif of "The mourning loss" is driven by its dualistic nature, and conceptual essence. It is quite obvious that Wiszdom Stone attend to the early years of Queensryche. They even make a direct reference in the lyrics, "...We got so much to do...".

The character Desire is played by David Scott McBee. Here he tempts The Lost Dreamer, played by Andre'. Fans of Virgin Steele, Ayreon, Epica, Avantasia, and Kamelot will appreciate this marriage of heaven and hell. The female voice of Guidance is sung by the siren Dawn Mahuta. Casey Grillo plays drums.

The older cut "Eyes Open" is the weakest link in a strong chain of events. This song showcases Mike Stone shredding on lead guitar. Sadly, this self-referential piece of primal persuasion is just not as punchy as the rest of the hits. The provocative "U should not fear" ends the CD with a balanced endeavour. The incredible guitar work of Mike Henzig, and his awesome solos lift you up, and carry you to the end of your majestic dream. These scenes of a memorable experience leave the listener feeling excited and ready, and free of false evidence appearing real.

I highly recommend this CD. In my opinion, it is better than the latest Queensryche ('American soldier'), the lastest Evergrey ('Torn'), or anything Kamelot has done in over 10 years (though I'm sure many of my colleagues will disagree). Rise to the opportunity to get this, now!




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