Released: 2012, Scarlet Records
It doesn't happen too often but when it does, I can make a pretty good mistake on Metal-Rules.com. In our 2010 year end poll, I put the debut album by Wilde Starr (ARRIVAL) in my Top 20 at #20. Problem is, the album came out in the summer of '09! I could swear it was a 2010 album. I must have picked up a reissue of sorts. I'll have to go look. Either way, I was impressed with the debut and had hoped the band would continue, although I must admit I felt it might be a one-off project between Wilde and Starr. Fortunately, I was wrong (again) and Wilde Starr have issued their sophomore album A TELL TALE HEART. Hopefully someone with even a passing interest or knowledge of classic literature will recognize the origin of the title and surmise that yes, the album is a thematic album with lyrics based on the works of American horror author Edgar Poe. Poe has been a wellspring of inspiration for the Metal community for decades and Wilde Starr do a fantastic subject of tackling the material.
I wasn't the of one who noticed the high quality of the debut because the band has been signed to Scarlet and the new album has wider exposure and availability. Not much else has changed with the exception of a new drummer, Josh Foster who does a competent job on the throne, delivering the pounding Metal we all crave.
The Dave/London singing/songwriter connection is very strong as they present another ten songs of classic/traditional Metal with enough grit, punch and fire to satisfy most Metal fans. The album opens with no warning, no prelude, no intro; it just leaps into a mighty scream by London who ably demonstrates her unique sound and very powerful voice. The more I hear her sing the more I like it, she has range, clarity, power and a unique style that is extremely appealing. I think she is a very underrated female vocal talent; a true Metal vocalist, She is not gruff like the death chicks and not a soprano like the Gothic and Power Metal chicks, she sits more in the Halford/Dickinson/Tate mold. For an examle, check out the notes she hits and holds at the end the song 'Usher In The Twilight'. Magnificent!
Battle-hardened veteran of the Metal Wars, Starr is no slouch on guitar, riffs spilling out his axe with ease, both graceful and powerful at the same time. The songs are of a conventional structure, good verses, catchy choruses but not to catchy or 'happy' as the theme and feel of the album is a bit darker to match the aforementioned lyrical theme.
In an era where European Traditional Metal has more publicity, scale and scope (and fans) and South American Traditional Metal has more talent and prestige, the couple dozen US Metal bands that play in this style, can compete globally as plainly evidenced by Wilde Starr's excellent album, A TELL TALE HEART. I'm not surprised that the band got picked up by a European label; they deserve it, so check them out!