Wizard - Of wariwulfs and bluotvarwes 4.5/5
1. Of wariwulfs and bluotvarwes
2. Undead insanity
3. Taste of fear
5. Messenger of death
6. In the sign of the cross
7. Fair maiden mine
11. Hagen von stein
The 9th CD from Germany’s true metal stalwarts is another pure power masterpiece. Nothing unusual or unexpected, but crafted with gloriously epic effectiveness.
From their beginning, Wizard stood out as one of the first bands to take up the “true metal” sub-genre. Before that time, that style was really identified with just one band, the uniquely self-exultant Manowar, who backed up their opinion of themselves with some of the highest highs in metal glory, as well as endearing Spinal Tap-esque moments. Early on, Wizard would interject spoken word tracks (a la “The warrior’s prayer” et al.), and their 2nd and 3rd CDs both had “metal” in the title. But they quickly learned the metal chops to back it up. The band’s output seemed to vary between awe inspiring CDs (‘Bound by metal’, ‘Odin’) and slightly more workmanlike CDs (‘Head of the deceiver’) in the same style.
By this point, Wizard has polished their version of pure, epic, melodic power metal into razor sharp precision and magnificent songwriting. Vocalist Sven D’Anna is one of the lynch pins of their glory, and while he rasps his way through some part of his CDs, at his best he carries a strong, clear, imperious sound which is awe-inspiring and rife with martial triumph. While the band once got their axe work done with a single guitarist, Michael Maass and Dano Boland, both of whom have been the sole guitarists, now work together, while Volker Leson provides the bass and Snoppi Denn the thunderous drums. While the musical onslaught is great, what’s most important is how the songwriting comes together with memorable tracks that quickly become part of your musical memories.
Lyrically, the band, who in the past have graced us with pure fantasy (for instance, “Hammer, bow, axe and sword”, at a time when such topics were a rare treasure), as well as a wonderfully deep exploration of Norse mythology in ‘Odin’ and ‘Thor’, manages to provide something both true to their roots, and original. The lyrics were inspired by a german language fantasy trilogy by André Wiesler, and that author actually worked with Leson in writing the lyrics, and the cool tale of monsters and church-sponsored killing squads shows that such things can still be great!
Overall, there will be no surprises, and fans tired of true metal fantasy power will not find anything here to change their mind, nor will afficionados of the genre be in any way disappointed. Instead, what they need to know is this is one of the band’s more inspired CDs, and highly recommended by anyone whose soul is stirred by Manowar classics like “Thor” and “Blood of my enemies”.
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