The trend of old school heavy metal revival has been thriving in recent years, with bands like Enforcer being one of the main flag-bearers of the genre, fusing elements of speed metal into their furious and energetic brand of heavy metal. Along with them, comes White Wizzard's sophomore full length album, Flying Tigers. Being in the Earache Records roster along with the excellent Enforcer, there is a certain challenge that the band faces, especially with similar musical style of music that they play as the former.
Compared to Enforcer's 2010 album Diamonds though, opening track Fight to the Death does not hit listeners in the face immediately, with White Wizzard choosing to slowly build up the climax through introducing their music to listeners with a more melodic number and little surprises, with the track containing nothing particularly flashy, and this certainly works well, as the music gets more addictive as the album progresses. Vocalist Wyatt's style bears an uncanny resemblance to Enforcer's Olof, though with a slightly more gruff quality, and being hooked on Diamonds recently, this also helps in making the album an extremely enjoyable listen. The bass guitars are also extremely audible, with Jon often providing a backing melody behind the guitars, and the playing of chords on the bass guitar is reminiscent of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris' playing style.
Guitarists Jon (who also handles bass duties on the album) often unleash Iron Maiden-inspired riffs and harmonised guitar solos. Solos such as those on West L.A. Nights also display Jon's versatile playing style, and helps in making the album more interesting, and is perhaps the personal key attraction of the album. The album is not all shred though as solos on songs like Starchild display the more emotional style of Jon as well. The Iron Maiden influence becomes even clearer with solos like those on Flying Tigers and Night Stalker sounding like those on The Final Frontier. The combination of all the different instrumentations on the album, along with the clear and polished production quality all give a modern touch to White Wizzard's brand of old school heavy metal, and the instrumental track Dark Alien Overture displays this well.
Despite the numerous comparisons that have been raised of White Wizzard's Flying Tigers with Enforcer's Diamonds, there is a certain lack of charm on Flying Tigers, and even faster numbers on the album somehow come across as less energetic than the latter. Among all the tracks, the ballads have potentially dragged the album down, with Starchild suddenly breaking the momentum that the band has gained in the first 2 tracks, and could have better come in later in the album instead of being so early in the album, though apart from the cheesiness of the track, there is nothing particularly offensive about it. The inclusion of various different influences, including some Middle-Eastern sounding riffs and a Dream Theater-inspired section on Fall of Atlantis also keeps listeners surprised and engaged throughout, even on longer tracks like Demons and Diamonds.
Flying Tigers displays the band's progress since their formation in 2007, and though the lineup remains pretty unstable with guitarist/bassist Jon being the sole remaining founding member of the band, it leaves listeners curious as to what the future holds for the band.
Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/