Infernal Overdrive sees metal stalwarts White Wizzard return with their fourth full-length album, their first since 2013. With the return of former members, singer Wyatt ‘Screaming Demon’ Anderson and guitarist, James J. LaRue along with a new record label, this latest release comes at a time of significant change in the band’s career. However, any feelings of trepidation fans may experience at how the new album may sound will be immediately overcome as opener, and title track, ‘Infernal Overdrive’ strikes a stunning blow to the senses.
Beginning with a gargantuan, ear-splitting scream from the aforementioned – and aptly named – Anderson, and a crushing classic metal riff, it’s a masterclass in shirts off raucous heavy metal. The power of the music is matched by the lyrics, with opening line ‘corporate politicians/pig head kings and queens/taking you for a ride/illusion behind the scenes’ taking a swipe at the growing insanity of our elected leaders, perhaps one perma-tanned former reality television star in particular. It’s a welcome demonstration of defiance and perhaps adds further credence to the notion that times of turmoil often inspire the best artistic expression, both in music and beyond.
This is true, unabashed, traditional heavy metal in its purest form. Hard and heavy with its heart on its sleeve. Raised on an unholy diet of Maiden, Dio, Saxon, Priest and many more, and combining the best elements of all, White Wizzard have unleashed a potent post-millennial metal masterpiece. Music with an abundance of heart and soul for a world often lacking in both. And they can mix it up a bit, too; ‘Pretty May’ has an irresistible folky rhythm and infectious energy it’s impossible not to want to move your body to, whilst the album’s concluding track, ‘The Illusion’s Tears’ is an intricate and progressive epic that rounds off the album in spectacular fashion.
With this latest release, White Wizzard have created not only their finest work to date, but an album bursting with energy and superbly crafted songs that bears comparison to the classic albums that inspired it. A rejuvenating celebration of the halcyon days of metal with some interesting flourishes thrown into the mix, this is an album to get your first pumping, your head banging and your mind off the icy, post-holiday blues. It’s early days, but if I review another album as good as this in 2018, I will be astounded.