Album: A Tale Tell Heart
Label: Furnace Maximus Records
Release Date: 30 October 2012
2. Transformis Ligea
3. A Perfect Storm
4. Valkyrie Cry
5. Last Holy King
6. In Staccata
7. Not Sane
8. Seven Shades Of Winter
9. The Pit or the Pendulum
10. Usher in the Twilight
Thanks to my friend Captain Howdy here at Metal Shock Finland, I was handed the promo for a band called WildeStarr. When I first saw that the name of the band, I said to myself, “Oh no, not another glam LA band.”; Plus the name reminds me of someone’s first band when they were in high school After getting myself acquainted with the bands info, I soon learned that it was a combination of former Vicious Rumors bassist Dave Starr along with vocalist London Wildes names together. Ok, that I can understand! Then 2 things concerned my right off the bat. First was, that this was the bands sophomoric album and it was a concept album. For me, 95% of concept albums suck and for a band to resort to this idea for the second CD was very ambitious on their part. And second, they have female singer. Yikes!!! Except for Doro and Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, most female fronted bands just don’t cut it. Simply put, and no pun intended, they just don’t have the balls to sing metal. I’m not a big fan in that department at all.
Well after hearing the first song, “Immortal”, this band buried all those perceptions that I just mentioned. This is probably the best song that I’ve heard all year! High piercing screams, killer double bass drums, excellent guitar leads and a tempo that is perfectly made for head banging. The use of doubling the vocals and harmonies are used frequently but at the right moments and the small measures of the tempo slowing down brings out the rest of this selection. After hearing this song, I can honestly say that she has what it takes to be a great metal singer. No whiney moments, just true kick ass vocals. I am most impressed!
“Transformis Ligea” is a perfect follow up to the first track. A very heavy filled rhythm section fused with vocals at a lower register which separates it from opening number but is just as good. The chorus brings out a chilling emotion to her voice and automatically shows that she knows how to send a shiver up the spine. Drummer, Josh Foster drives the song steady with some nice fills and Dave Starr plays some melodic guitar leads that conjure up the spirit of Ace Frehley.
Our third song, “A Perfect Storm” brings forth the sound of modern day Judas Priest. Not as prominent as the other two but a decent effort. I could do without some of the voice effects as I think it isn’t needed and is too much like Priest/Halford. Jack brings a slightly different style of guitar leads here, where the finger work is much more complex.
Now, from here to the last song, you might as well put on a Primal Fear album. Every song is textbook PF. It all sounds that it was lifted from P Fears “New Religion” album. “Valkyrie Cry” and “Last Holy King” are perfect examples of this. Not bad songs but it seems the band stole the playbook from Mat Sinner. The vocals have the exact phrasing and emphasis as Ralf Scheepers.
As we get to the fifth song “In Staccata” we find a song that is completely over sung. I’ve listened to this album 5 times but could only finish listening to this song 3 times. It gets to the point of being really annoying.
Next up and a really good song is “Seven Shades of Winter”. A very profound sounding chorus that catches the listener’s ear! It sounds a bit different than the other songs but not enough where it sounds that it doesn’t belong. The verse flows effortlessly into the chorus which is dramatic but not over bearing. My second favourite song on the album as it combines a heavy back section into a catchy, melodic chorus.
The last two songs, “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “Usher in the Twilight” continue on the Primal Fear path.
The production work is at the top of the class. All the instruments sound as if you could walk between them so there are no problems there. My one small concern is that the drums seem a bit too digital sounding. For me, this is a problem not just here but with a lot of other modern metal albums.
Now for the band itself, absolutely no lack of talent here whatsoever; I really, really like this band. Dave Starr plays flawlessly throughout the album. He seems to instinctively know when to play melodically and when to rip the frets off the board. He adds effects not to sound different but to compliment or to bring a song along. London Wilde is without a doubt, my favourite female singer. She is more than competent singing in a predominately mans domain. I just hope that she sometimes exercises “the less is more” rule in the future as sometimes her much higher range notes become a bit much after using them frequently. Josh Foster fills in the drum seat quite nicely. Fast double bass beats drive many of the songs to blistering speed and he throws in fills where needed. The one good thing is that he doesn’t play “lead” drums where the fills could interfere with the vocals. He knows when to play and when to pull back, something that is detrimental to some drummers.
Overall, It is a pretty good album.. I just wished they touched the album with more originality. I was let down after hearing the first two songs which were killer, a path they should have stayed on. The concept element worked well here and the artwork of the album cover is a good representation of the music inside. I look forward to hearing their next set of works.
Favourite song: “Immortal”.
Least Favourite: “In Staccata”
7 out of 10
It’s DAVE, not Jack Starr…