WILDESTARR
"Arrival"

(Furnace Maximus Media)

01. Rose In The Dark
02. Arrival
03. Touching God
04. Rise
05. Down Of The Sun
06. In This World
07. Generation Next
08. Nevermore
09. Voice In The Silence
10. The Chain

RATING: 7/10

WILDESTARR is the brainchild of guitarist Dave Starr, a 25-year veteran that is best known for his bass role in VICIOUS RUMORS. Pairing up with (air raid) siren London Wilde, a longtime songwriter, vocalist, and recording engineer, the product of said collaboration is debut album "Arrival". The album has gotten high praise from quite a few melodic metal critics. Much of that praise is warranted and while I'd not heap accolades on "Arrival", I have no problem calling it a solid outing that comes with a professional production, good playing, and fair number of memorable tracks.

Those looking for a feral 'n filthy underground beast should look elsewhere as "Arrival" is targeted to the traditional metal fan that enjoys slickness and polish over rawness, and brightly lit melodies over attention-eroding dirge and compositional complexity. That said, "Arrival" has its share of progressive edges and the songwriting dynamics, though conventional, are not overly simplistic. Wilde's out-front vocals soar, her range often reaching the stratosphere, at times one of the primary elements that vaguely reminds of the Napalm Records School of ProgPower. Starr's riffs are robust and his leads are tasteful and smartly performed. The musical approach falls somewhere between DORO and BENEDICTUM crossed with more than a few nods to QUEENSRŸCHE and occasionally JUDAS PRIEST. The tracks that work best are those that combine balls with bombast and classiness, such as "Rose in the Dark", one of the more dynamic, if a little long in the tooth, tracks, as well as album closer "The Chain", which offers one of the album's catchiest moments. Cuts like "In this World" also bring to mind the Martin/Gillen/Hughes era of BLACK SABBATH, in this case largely owing to Starr's main riff. Not every track is a barn burner, but most distinguished, the one exception "Nevermore", which suffers as a sort of power ballad with a melody that barely impacts. A liberal sprinkling of keys alternates between sparkling and dark, at times giving the music a semi-gothic edge.

"Arrival" even has a certain air of uniqueness, just not in the sense of progressive metal dynamics. Outside of the very capable playing and the sugary sweet melodies, the album still falls into the category of relatively commercial, high gloss melodic metal. It is clear that Starr and Wilde understand their target audience and make no apology for it. Those in that target audience will have quite a bit to rave about; others may find that the brightness can nearly overwhelm.

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