WILDESTARR is an American trio, consisting of London Wilde and Dave Starr (whose names are behind the band name, if you did not notice) and Jim Hawthorne. Dave Starr is the bassist of CHASTAIN and has also played that instrument in LÄÄZ ROCKIT and VICIOUS RUMORS. The band’s homepage contains the genre-definition Female-fronted Extreme Melodic Metal, which is one of those impossible descriptions that don’t mean anything at all. Still, it gives one important piece of information: the band is female fronted. Not knowing this, I could have sworn that most of the vocals of London Wilde had to come from a man. Sure, a falsetto-singing Power Metal singer, but still a man. Anyway, that means that Wilde’s vocal approach consists of falsetto screaming and high-pitched singing. The homepage compares her to Rob Halford and concerning one song, “Rise”, that is actually a valid description. In a few other songs, like “Down Of The Sun” there is some nice variety in the singing, but in most songs the singing is neither extreme like Halford’s nor varied like others in the Metal singer elite. That leaves us with a falsetto approach that gets a bit tired after a few songs.
Musically, though, this record has much more to offer. Dave Starr’s guitar-playing and bass-work are both permeated by imagination and good ideas. Songs 2-6 are all good and so is the calmer “Nevermore” and “Voice In The Silence” and this is much because of the competent handling of riffing and melodies. Wilde also handles a keyboard very well and all sound effects and melodies coming from it add to the songs. The drumming of Jim Hawthorne is fairly experimental compared to that of other Power Metal drummers, which is very much in line with the rest of the music.
The song-writing is the best part of this record, but for some reason some of the songs can be hard to take in at first, probably because of the progressive influence noticed in the drumming and riffing. I can come up with several bands that seem to have had an influence on WILDESTARR, but ICED EARTH and DREAM THEATER are two of the most famous. Fans of DARK EMPIRE and WOLF will probably also enjoy this one and on one song, “In This World”, I could even hear a few similarities to BLIND GUARDIAN and FALCONER (minus the Folk).
With this said, I am sorry to say that it still does not go all the way. Despite the variety and imagination, there is a hint of repetitiveness on this album, which may have to do with the Progressive side of it. (Those of you who have read my reviews before know that I am not the biggest fan of Progressive Metal in the world.) That does not mean that the album is not worth listening to, but this is nothing I would recommend to anyone who is not a fan of the first four aforementioned bands. With a stronger vocal side, this album would have received a 7, but as it sounds now, 6.5, my average grade, it is. This will still fight for a place in the bottom of my top 20 this year, as it has been a relatively weak year.
(Online November 2, 2009)