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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

WildeStarr

Beyond The Rain

Review by Mike Korn

This album is proof positive that great art can come out of tragedy. It’s a concept album inspired by the suicide of singer London Wilde’s brother Gary, also a musician. The band manages to take this grim subject and fashion something powerful and uplifting from it. It’s the third WildeStarr album and without question the best one yet.

The core of the band is unique in that it is a husband and wife combination. Guitar player Dave Starr, who played many years with power metal masters Vicious Rumors, is husband to bombastic blonde vocal powerhouse London Wilde, who is as good a female metal singer as you are likely to hear. Drummer Josh Foster rounds out the band and lends power of his own. Together, this unit creates heavy metal that draws on influences like Judas Priest, Queensryche, Vicious Rumors and Metal Church to come up with a timeless sound. The tunes on Beyond The Rain flow smoothly into each other, and the album seems to fly by in a flash.

If you aren’t familiar with this great traditional metal band, this is a fantastic place to start.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Metamorphose
The album opens with an instrumental combination of power and melody that is WildeStarr’s trademark, with some great double tracked guitar and a keyboard flourish.
Beyond the Rain
The first proper song hits hard with a super crunchy medium paced riffing. It also introduces you to the power-packed vocals of London Wilde, who has an amazing set of lungs, to put it mildly. She puts a lot of passion in her singing here, which is natural, given the subject matter.
Pressing The Wires
Fast and mean, this is a speed metal kick in the head that charges out of the gate like a Brahma bull. It is tedious to repeat it, but Wilde’s vocals just blow the doors off. Here she throws a high pitched scream into the fray. One thing that makes this album so powerful is how tight and compact the songs are. They are just as long as they need to be, without frills or fuss. This song is a good case in point.
Double Red
A little bit slower than the previous cut, this has a dark and “creeping” feel. Every window in your house will crack when Wilde unleashes the chorus on this one - just an incredible vocal performance. The song strikes me as a perfect cross between Metal Church power and Queensryche progression.
Down Cold
Beginning with subtle melody, this soon powers out into a super crunchy metal anthem. It alternates pendulum-like between moody melody and heavy duty metallic stomping, with a smoking bluesy solo from Dave Starr.
Rage And Water
A heavy and medium paced song with a crushing chorus, this comes across like Queensryche crossed with modern groove metal.
Crimson Fifths
The pace drops considerably here for a very moody and melancholy tune. The verses are sad and low key while the chorus soars with Wilde’s incredible vocal pyrotechnics. Somehow this manages to sound both depressing and uplifting at the same time.
Undersold
This charges out of the gate pretty hard. It’s hard driving power metal with maximum crunch and thunderous drumming. It is one of the album’s best.
From Shadow
A real stomper, this keeps the intensity up and reminds me of prime Judas Priest with its swaggering main riff. I defy anybody to find a female metal vocalist who can do the things London Wilde does on this track.
When The Night Falls
The album ends on an epic note with this metal classic. Dave Starr gets to unleash a lot of multi-tracked guitar work in the vein of Thin Lizzy here. The song is another fast paced killer with screaming operatic vocals and puts the perfect cap on one of the better metal albums of the 21st century.
 
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