White Wizzard – Flying Tigers (Earache Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Cruel, this classic heavy metal game that White Wizzard is playing. Beset with a a barrage of lineup changes (the most notable being that most of WW’s early lineup jumped ship to form Holy Grail), bassist/founding member Jon Leon has had to operate with a thrown-together ensemble for the better part of the band’s now three-year existence. Miraculously, there is still a degree of quality to White Wizzard’s work, as evidenced on their second full-length, the very Maiden-like Flying Tigers.

There’s not much room in which to operate in the throwback metal sphere, so White Wizzard is quick to the run to the hills of sing-a-long choruses and cliché lyrical topics (see: “West LA Nights” and “Demons and Diamonds”). There’s quite a bit of spunky bass playing from Leon, and he’s way out-front in the mix, which of course will draw instant comparisons to Steve Harris.

The de facto element here is singer Wyatt Anderson, who coincidentally, has also left White Wizzard. Anderson has an excellent range and something close to his own personality. When given melodic material to sing over as in the ballad “Starchild,” Anderson steals the show, displaying a sense of emotion and delivery that is hard to snuff out in the current throes of retro metal. Suffice it to say, wherever Anderson lands next is a place to keep one’s eye on.

Hard to imagine anyone outside of the 35-45 year range truly latching onto White Wizzard, as this more of a steady alternative to the overflow of death metal and everything-else metal that is coming down the pike. There’s quite a bit to like about Flying Tigers, although one has to wonder if Leon and co. will be able to hold it together for much longer to make it to album #3.

www.myspace.com/whitewizzard

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)