Wizard - Thor 4/5

Reviewed: 4-24-09





Tracklist:

1. Utgard (False games)
2. Midguards guardian
3. Asgard
4. Serpents venom
5. Resurrection
6. The visitor
7. What would you do?
8. Utgard (The beginning)
9. Stolen hammer
10. Lightning
11. Pounding in the night


Germany’s Wizard, pure-hearted champions of pure metal, return with their 8th CD, and it is a very good example of their work, not up with their absolute best, but solid and engaging and up there with their better CDs.

There is nothing surprising here for those who are familiar with the band, which has reached some outstanding heights during their career with CDs like 'Odin' and 'Bound for metal'. The band took the elements of Manowar in “Gates of Valhalla” and “Thor”, once rare treasure, and led a charge, through the darkness of heavy metal’s nadir when it was smothered out by flannel, until now they are part of an onslaught of those who wear the patch of “true metal”, some better than others.

Rather shockingly, this is the same line-up that recorded 'Son of darkness' 14 years before, adding only guitarist Dano Boland (who had originally replaced Michael Maass during his one CD absence) while now they stand together in dueling threnody, and the band is just as tight and proficient as you’d expect with that time together. Vocalist Sven D’Anna continues his unique presence, in an epic, majestic voice that combines Eric Adams from Manowar and Joacim Cans of Hammerfall. The music melds the epic presence of slower heavy metal (the chorus of “The visitor”, especially as if fades out in a cappella, and “Pounding in the night (is the Hammer of Thor)” with plenty of speed and double-bass drum thunder from Snoppi Denn and bassist Volker Leson throughout the CD (“Asgard” and “Resurrection”), and everything in between.

The band returns to the lyrical theme of their best CD, 'Odin', with a concept album centered around Norse mythology again, with the red bearded god of thunder, although it’s not quite as compelling written, lyrically or musically as 'Odin', but that’s more a testament to the glory of the earlier CD than a criticism of this one, and its consistent lyrical subject is an improvement over divergences like “Call of the wild” from 'Magic circle'.

A small cut below 'Odin' and 'Goochan', but other than that, superb and satisfying epic power metal, with a glorious side of Norse mythology is what you’ll take home on this CD.



CRAIG




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