Welcoming back old ‘Wizzards’, vocalist Wyatt “Screaming Demon” Anderson and guitarist James J. LaRue, to the fold seems to have buoyed White Wizzard no end as Infernal Overdrive positively rips!
It comes with its issues though…..
The title track is Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” re-written, it’s so fucking obvious it should be criminal but it’s also bloody brilliant! You’ve got to have King Kong sized brass balls to so blatantly emulate your heroes but who gives a fuck when the results are so thrillingly effective.
“Storm The Shores” then leaves us battle-scarred as its Maiden licks recall the power of Piece Of Mind and Powerslave. Again, it’s complete plagiarism in essence but rocks like a muthafucker and, deep down, we all wish Iron Maiden were still writing songs in this vein!
A sense of self finally arrives on the jaunty “Pretty Mary” but White Wizzard save the best for last, with the trio of tracks that bring Infernal Overdrive to a close delivering on every level. “Cocoon” circles around a taut and bulging mid-tempo riff, and a sense of Middle-Eastern grandeur which recalls Iced Earth, while “Metamorphosis” amplifies those eastern melodies further, channeling Perfect Strangers-era Deep Purple in the process.
Ending with the 11min epic “The Illusion’s Tears” proves that White Wizard do have some original bones in their body as they embrace a 70’s prog aesthetic. Featuring relatively clean vocals and an ornate structure, it’s pretty bombastic stuff and a fine way to close an album that must be considered a return to form for this nostalgic act.
This is simply music informed by the classics of heavy metal. It’s joyous, it’s anthemic, it’s fist-in-the-air fantastic….how can you possibly resist?! 8/10