Trail Of Death


Death is fairly a theme that can described pages over pages, as it has been […]
October 3, 2013
Wizard - Trail Of Death album cover

Death is fairly a theme that can described pages over pages, as it has been since the dawn of mankind. There are those that believe that Death is a creature, a being, a servant of the heavens to carry the freshly dead into the Elysium fields, or is it also the retainer of the underworld as some beliefs maintain the fact that not every soul deserves the white treatment (without out the jacket). One thing is positively definite, Death is always watching, waiting to make its move, whether through natural causes up to atypical demises of individuals before their time. Realizing and grasping the trails of Death is quite an enterprise, but the veteran German true Metal protectors of WIZARD, made it their perseverance tending the Death issue as they see fit on their new release, "Trails Of Death", via Massacre Records. Proclaiming various forms of unnatural causes WIZARD spread their word with the sounds of the 80's driven Teutonic horde. They might have been influenced by MANOWAR as it has been for nearly two decades, but through their music they hail inspirations of their local giants such as ACCEPT and GRAVE DIGGER with the flaming rage of early PRIMAL FEAR.

Back in 2011, WIZARD had me amazed with their "...Of Wariwulfs and Bluotvarwes" album, an intense Heavy / Power Metal superiority that enlisted to my top 10 list for that same years. Just like MYSTIC PROPHECY, which I have recently reviewed, WIZARD has been also one of these bold acts that remained true and loyal to their musical Metallic origins, maybe speeding up a bit here and there with a few Gothic turn ups, yet still as persistent as they can get. In comparison to the previous juggernaut, "Trails Of Death", upon its mystifying theme, fell a little short. Whether I believe or not, there has been a formula for each band for songs. With this principle bands have produced, and still creating, hits that remained a solid pillar throughout the days. However, after a while, these immaculate ideas began to decay while taking the artist with them into a downward spiral. In the case of WIZARD, some might argue that it initiated years back, yet in this business, especially if following a certain layout that relishes success, it is either you hit or miss, either providing a twist. On "Trails Of Death" it appeared to me that there were more blunders than bull's-eyes. Possibly this is a sign that there is a need to apply something a little out of the ordinary to the music, that special clank, but I guess that this is an answer for the band to provide.

Musically on its own, "Trails Of Death", served with the astonishing work of Achim Koehler for the mixing and mastering, is like a breath of fire out of the dragon's mouth, a scorcher, blazing with heavy ounces of punishing riffery, dynamic drumming and of course the constant vocal distribution of Sven D'Anna. The songs kept the same vibe of the Teutonic terror with somewhat basic structures, occasional hymns the stimulated the senses for a potential sing-along. The opener, "Creeping Death", still can't compete the one written by METALLICA, is a blasting warmonger, shedding blood with melodic lead licks under the tight grip of a fistful of PRIMAL FEARish Metal with an enchanting vocal line sharing a colossus chant on the chorus. "Post Mortem Vivere" sped through the fields with a Speed / Power Metal sense of steel following the crunchy late 80's, maneuvering between GRAVD DIGGER and ACCEPT with a slicing main riff, which its followers appeared to be composed upon its basis. However, the title of the track on the chorus annoyed on the chorus, I would have left it out as the rest of the track sounded pretty good. "Angel of Death" is straight shooter, nothing more or less is expected from WIZARD with these kinds of songs, a mid tempo cracker attempting to become an addictive, or in their case a reprising, anthem, though certainly not of the best I have heard. D'Anna's singing had quite an impact on the track rather than Dano Boland and Michael Maass guitaring or the a little weary rhythm section of Volker Leson and his skinman companion Snoppi. Same can be proclaimed on "One For All", which sounded a tad melodic that the previous contender. The soloing venture was a bit less to be desired though it reflected quite well on the song's aura. "Black Death" was insanely tough with an incredible speed, reminding a bit several of the band's earlier classics, yet it appeared a little hackneyed, and I just wished that this kind of a pounder would have more stings.

Generally, I guess I desired more out of this album, wishing for it to become supreme as the previous or as "Head Of The Deceiver", that clung on the 80's experience of German Metal, and the toughened edges of "Thor" or another of my favorites, "Goochan". Furthermore, as a personal proposition to WIZARD, please refrain from writing songs about Metal, especially not like "We Won't Die for Metal", as it was a contradictory to MANOWAR's "Die For Metal", it sounded preposterous. Also there is the darkened Gothic tryout of "Death Cannot Embrace Me" that contorted DARKSEED, not an impressive move. Either way, "Trails Of Death" is a good album, bonded with the roots, yet I truthfully yearn that it won't be the foundation of a deterioration for this band.

7 / 10


"Trail Of Death" Track-listing:

1. Creeping Death
2. War Butcher
3. Electrocution
4. Angel of Death
5. Angel of the Dark
6. Black Death
7. One for All
8. Post Mortem Vivere
9. Death Cannot Embrace Me
10. Machinery of Death
11. We Won't Die for Metal

Wizard Lineup:

Sven D'Anna - Vocals
Dano Boland - Guitar
Michael Maass - Guitar
Volker Leson - Bass
Sören van Heek (Snoppi) - Drums

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