Wildestarr – A Tell Tale Heart
A Tell Tale Heart
This is the second release of the American power metal band Wildestarr, and unfortunately it’s not much of an improvement over the first album’s pretty typical power metal. A Tell Tale Heart is more enjoyable, but it’s different. For one thing, the riffing sounds almost like Kiss with 16th note double bass drums added in; it’s not rock in feel, but the first three songs (especially “Immortal”) have that rock and roll sound. Unfortunately after those first couple of songs, it loses that sound and becomes “just another power metal album”. Also, I have a big issue with singer London Wilde; she stays way too high without being able to sound great. Throughout the album she hits her fair share of sour notes as well. Wilde sounds a bit like a female Michael Kiske, but way more nasally and completely lacking warmth, making it tough to listen to some times. At least on the first album she used her mid range more often to good effect.
The first song, “Immortal”, is fast, fun, bombastic, and catchy; the only downside to it is really the vocals. Wilde stays up way too high for pretty much the entire song and it really gets annoying. In fact, the first three songs all share the problem of the singer’s voice being very nasally and unpleasant. I find “A Perfect Storm” to be possibly the most annoying in this regard, the chorus is boring and the biggest vocal offender on the whole album.
From a technical standpoint, this album is pretty good, and the production isn’t superb, but it certainly doesn’t make the album sound bad. The musicianship is good and the solos are all interesting as well. The problem is, with London singing over the great riffs and guitar parts this album has to offer, it just kind of ruins it. After the song “Valkyrie Cry” (one of the better ones) the songs kind of start blending together; there’s nothing catchy or memorable to set them apart. “Not Sane” and Valkyrie Call” are the easiest songs to listen to because London actually leaves the vocal stratosphere and uses her mid range. When I first found out that the lead singer of this group is a girl I was shocked, because she just doesn’t sound like a woman (she sounds like a guy doing a really bad Michael Kiske impression). I hate to rant, but I feel the need to make sure I explain why her voice is annoying: there is very little emotion for one thing, it’s very nasally (as I’ve said before), and because of that, when she goes up high (so like 95% of the album) it just grates on my ears.
There’s really nothing that memorable about this album, even if you can get past the voice. Yeah the musicianship is pretty good, but there are far superior bands with far superior singers that you could be listening to. The only song I might ever come back to in a year from now would be “Immortal” because it’s a fun romp of a song and probably the catchiest one here. There’s some good potential, but they really need a different singer if they’re ever going to amount to something.
Ian’s Rating: 2.75 out of 5