Wizard - Thor
I remember listening to a lot of new bands in the late 90's, when Power Metal enjoyed a newfound popularity, and great bands seemed to be popping up out of nowhere all the time. Today, a lot of these bands are gone. Some released a magnificent debut, and then seemed to vanish. Some quickly ran out of ideas and released more and more mediocre albums. And then, there's Wizard. Wizard stuck to their guns over the years, and continued to develop their songwriting without changing the initial style. Since 1995, they have faithfully released an album every second year. Wizard is a band, you can depend on in every aspect; it's True Metal all the way, with all its clichés, power chords, double bass drums, screaming vocals and lyrics about warriors and battles. Some despise it. And me? I just love every bit of it!

Thor is probably the most diverse Wizard album yet. There are a lot of tempo changes within most songs, and though all songs are based around a central refrain, it is clear that lots of energy and though went into writing the verses and bridges. The songs both have the catchiness to grab the listener from the first meeting and the longevity to stay interesting after many spins. Many small details make the album grow stronger, instead of feeling worn out on repeated listening, a mark of high quality material.

On Thor, the German warriors show us, they haven't forgotten how to kick ass the fast and hard way. The crushing opener Utgard (False Games) is a very classic Metal song, with a hard and thrashy profile. The vocal lines are arranged in a rather original way, they don't follow the music all the time. The fantastic Resurrection will leave no headbanger's neck unharmed! Typical Wizard, this is a fastpaced, energetic and powerful song with a strong chorus.

However, the albums ultimate strength is the hymn-ish, almost epic atmosphere that dominates most of the songs. Compared to most of their prior releases, the band has turned the tempo down a notch, concentrating more on midtempo tracks with strong structures and interesting details. Captivating melodies, simple-yet-effective riffs and grandiose choirs with layered vocals are the cornerstones in songs like the majestic The Visitor, which has an almost Blind Guardian-like feeling to it, and the albums best track, Stolen Hammer where a melancholic and beautiful atmosphere is created.

One little thing, that doesn't work as well as the rest, is using the ultra highpitched screams in the chorus of some songs. It sounds pretty cool in the first song, Utgard (False Games), because it is kind of surprising, but when you get to Lightning, it feels a bit overused, and distracts a little from the rest of the music.

Another point of criticsm, is the "too borrowed" feeling, I get, when listening to What Would You Do. A pretty cool song, but nevertheless, the structure of the verse, and the way the vocals go feels a little too similar to  Manowar's Power. Paying tribute to the Kings of Metal is good, being uninventive with your songwriting is bad, and this song falls somewhere in the middle.  

Overall, Thor is a powerful lesson in, what Metal is supposed to sound like! Wizard has created a worthy addition to their already impressive catalogue. The hammer of Thor crushes with a deadly force!

Written by Nina
Sunday, April 19, 2009
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Review by Nina

Released by
Massacre Records - 2009

1. Utgard (False Games)
2. Midgard's Guardian
3. Asgard
4. Serpent's 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

Supplied by Massacre

True Heavy Metal

Related links
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Wizard - Official Website

Other articles
Odin - (Ulrick)

Band Profile and Biography - (Nina)

Interview with Snoppi van Heek - (Nina)

Goochan - (Alanna)

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