Rating:
7.5
Wizard - Thor
31 January 2009


01. Utgard (False Game)
02. Midgards Guardian
03. Asgard
04. Serpents Venom
05. Resurrection
06. The Visitor
07. What Would You Do?
08. Utgard (The Beginning)
09. Stolen Hammer
10. Lightning
11. Pounding In The Night


Power metal. Lets be honest, it has never been a particularly cool genre now has it? But even though power metal may have had a rise in the popularity a few years ago with bands like Dragonforce raising awareness of its withering species, times in power-metal-land these days are not exactly the best they have been. Not only this, but the increasing chasm within power metal itself between European power metal and so called U.S. power metal seems to have split people even more into niche categories, with the European power metal side bearing the full brunt of the cheese knives and hammers in its back.

Wizard, long running German power metallers have been there and done that, and probably bought the t-shirt as well, all really without becoming a well-known giant in the genre such as bands like Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian, also from sweet sweet Deutschland. "Thor" is album number eight, and not a whole lot has changed. Wizard have always been a European power metal band, and thus have been called "cheesy" and "flower metal" and all the other generic remarks, but compared to other bands in the genre, Freedom Call and Fairyland for example, these guys, and "Thor" in particular sound as hard as a ton of bricks and just as heavy. No, Wizard have never been the cheesiest band and "Thor" probably has the least dairy product of any kind in it looking back over the band's history. These guitar riffs are thick and solid, perhaps more and more reminiscent of good ol' "Painkiller" in places as they stab the airwaves. Singer Sven D'Anna once again follows on here from previous album "Goochan" where increasing amounts of rougher, gruffer vocals were used in between the wailing, which have themselves noticeably increased in quality over the years. Wizard are once again the complete package, perhaps even more so with "Thor" as this new offering is the band's first with two guitar players. Every element of their music as precise, clean and accomplished as the next. Plenty of double bass drumming seals the album together and seals the deal for a good quality album.

European power metal, U.S. power metal, whatever. Chances are if you like power metal, you will like this album. "Thor" has the wailing vocals, the catchy choruses and of course the fantastical themes and lyrics of a concept album, but it also has the hard and heavy guitar riffs, some rougher vocals and a tough, rough and ready feel that the U.S. brings to power metal.

Overall "Thor" is a great, solid album, but for long running Wizard fans may feel slightly lacking in standout songs that latch inside your head and never want to let go. Who can forget the "Witch Of The Enchanted Forest", or the "Call Of The Wild", or even the "Magic Potion"? Indeed, there is nothing quite so catchy for Euro power fans on this release, but what "Thor" does is open itself up to a possible middle ground of power metallers who consist of both Euro and U.S. power followers. If you're already a Wizard fan, you'll like this album but it won't be your favourite. If you're new to Wizard and swing both ways when it comes to power metal, this might just be your thing.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 9


Band profile: Wizard
Album: Thor


 



Written on 13.03.2009 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››



Comments

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Janne - 13.03.2009 at 20:17  
Nice, thanks for the review I'll check this album out asap. I haven't known this band yet but after reading this I think I'd like them!
Ellrohir - 13.03.2009 at 20:27  
Hm...never even heard about this band...gotta check it out
Bararey - 13.03.2009 at 20:44  
Heard about their album coming out, dunno why but I've been reluctant to get it
Janne - 13.03.2009 at 23:09  
I forgot to mention that Viking themes are always a positive thing for me Even if there's nothing folk in the music (like Stromwarrior)
quirin - 14.03.2009 at 01:39  
Yeah, I use to like viking stuff too... but come on, how could anyone manage to be inventive in the genre nowadays? Guess I'd better keep my hands off this record, so I won't be disapointed any further.
Ellrohir - 14.03.2009 at 09:17  
So band checked and marked as "very good one"
Baz Anderson - 14.03.2009 at 14:03  
Glad you liked them!
GT - 14.03.2009 at 19:00  
Guess it's an album for me then since I, as you out it "swing both ways" when it comes to power metal. Liked some of their earlier works as well
Janne - 15.03.2009 at 10:46  
Well, I got this album and I can say it's quite good stuff though it won't be my favourite album..
MetalManic_Joel - 15.03.2009 at 20:55  
Need a new genre? Who wants to start an 'Organic Metal' band with me?
MetalAlex - 15.03.2009 at 22:35  
I don't like Thor. Wizard's previous album is far more original and memorable.
YoreLore - 25.03.2009 at 16:09  
Good review and good to see you dont resort to the usual pointless name calling that a lot of "metal" fans give to Power Metal bands. I dont care about originality, if I like an album by a band then I dont mind hearing another 200 songs that are in a similar style
Vikingocalypse; - 03.06.2009 at 00:11  
I was listening to this at Scrape's a couple days ago. It's a great album.
Bas - 04.06.2009 at 12:23  
The review and especially the rating are spot on Baz. I'd have given an 8 instead of a 9 for performance, apart from that I'm completely with you.

Personally I found Thor to be extremely disappointing though. Odin, Goochan and Magic Circle, all three of the previous albums were really fantastic power metal, Thor however is only a bit above average if you ask me...
MacofMetal - 13.05.2010 at 02:33  
This album is awesome. as an odinist that was recentl introduced to viking metal, this album did alot to push me further:thumbup:
Butters49 - 22.10.2011 at 07:37  
Haha first paragraph is awesome.
R'Vannith - 22.10.2011 at 07:57  
^ Holy hell you must have really loved that paragraph to warrant a septuple post!
Troy Killjoy - 22.10.2011 at 08:03  
Written by R'Vannith on 22.10.2011 at 07:57
^ Holy hell you must have really loved that paragraph to warrant a septuple post!

That first paragraph is pretty awesome I guess.
R'Vannith - 22.10.2011 at 08:10  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.10.2011 at 08:03

Written by R'Vannith on 22.10.2011 at 07:57
^ Holy hell you must have really loved that paragraph to warrant a septuple post!

That first paragraph is pretty awesome I guess.


It's certainly true, though not something I was unaware of.

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