White Wizzard – Flying Tigers

They Say :- Flying the flag for classic metal with a singular vision and unflinching belief in the power of great riffs and earth-shattering vocals, L.A.’s finest exponents of the genre return with all guns blazing on ‘Flying Tigers’.

From the rallying cry of ‘Fight to the Death’, through the emotive arena rock power of ‘Starchild’, to the multi-layered concept nature of the album’s closing side (the last six tracks form an epic, progressive concept piece), the spirit and class of the song writing is topped with the world beating vocals of Wyatt Anderson.

Taking in visits to downtown Tokyo, sultry L.A. hangouts, ancient Egypt, outer space and beyond across the course of 12 killer tracks, ‘Flying Tigers’ gives traditional classic metal a huge shot in the arm.

We Say :- I usually listen to new releases on the long and boring drive from Sheffield to Hemel Hempstead that is my (almost) daily commute. A 5 hour round trip that gives me a chance to plough through some of the backlog of stuff that seems to keep piling up in the CackBlabbath inbox.

This album has had a complicated birth, not helped by the bands line-up changes as they got through a succession of singers before settling (again) on Wyatt Anderson. Well the personnel situation settled down for long enough for them to make it into the studio and Flying Tigers is about to see the light of day through Earache Records, who are currently enjoying a stunning run of releases.

So, what’s it like…..

Well, I honestly can’t remember the last time I put on an album first thing in the morning and was still listening to the same album all those dull hours later, but Flying Tigers was something that I just HAD to listen to again, and again, and again….

For an American band, White Wizzard have always embodied the best of the whole New Wave Of British Heavy Metal era, and have been at the forefront of “proper” heavy metal’s current renaissance. In spite of that they were always a band I had difficulty taking seriously, I guess at the end of the day I thought they were always just a little bit too Maiden. Now that’s not a bad thing, but they just always seemed capable of, I dunno, more.

Well, the influences are clearly still there, but suddenly the “more” that was hinted at has definitely arrived with a massive bang. Stating it simply, this is an absolutely brilliant album.

So there.

White Wizzard are definitely getting over their you-know-who obsession a bit, Flying Tigers sees the band produce a masterful blend of “classic” influences to produce one of the freshest, bounciest metal albums I have heard in absolutely ages. Honestly, by the time they were half way through the opening track Fight To The Death I was hooked. It’s the sort of thing that makes you want to bang your head while wearing a ridiculously big grin. Possibly while sporting a cut off denim.

Influence wise you get the whole bag thrown in here, but alongside the Maiden and Priest inspired tracks there are loads more, there’s a touch of Saxon here, bit of Dio there and even a whiff of Sabbath in War Of The Worlds. The thing is that all the time they manage to avoid sounding like a pastiche,  like a covers band who just happen to play original material.

Highlights, well pretty much any track on the album. If I had to chose I’d probably go for the title track, or Night Train To Tokyo with it’s stupidly catchy chorus, or maybe the Dio-infused (in the best possible way) Blood On The Pyramids, or the slightly epic Starman’s Son where White Wizzard wander towards Led Zep territory in places, or, or, or…..

In fact, no, it’s too hard. I’m not going to pick any highlights on this one, buy it, listen to it and make your own mind up.

I have a feeling that my top three albums for the year are pretty much set, and this latest offering from White Wizzard is definitely right up there.