Despite almost constant lineup problems, White Wizzard's follow up to 2010's "Over the Top" arrives only a year later, which comes as something of a surprise, considering that the band members come and go like regulars to a pub. The album continues in the bands "new wave of traditional metal" vein, and the aesthetic, and largely the music style also, continue in the spirit of their past releases.
Listening to the album, it's probably fair to say that White Wizzard have developed and diversified a bit. Instead of an album packed with cheerful songs about how awesome metal is, there are plenty of genuinely legitimate lyrical themes, with everything from aliens to Atlantis. Cheesy, no doubt, but still much more varied than the previous album. The song styles are a bit more varied too, which is refreshing, for instance, "Starchild" is unmistakeably a ballad, which is something not seen enough in metal today. It's well executed to, with epic solos, and a chorus which is memorised completely by the end of the song. The band seem to have established a reasonable balance between raucous fun and exciting songwriting, something which the previous album leaned on the former. While essentially, Flying Tigers is just more of the same, it's definitely a more mature release, with a sound which is beginning to become distinct, and not just a Priest and Maiden clone. Some of the bands stuff is genuinely a bit new - not groundbreaking, but nonetheless, it makes them a lot more worth investing an hour in, listening to the album.
In this release, the band are a little bit more technical, and each instrument sounds generally a little more refined, although lead, rhythm and bass guitar were all produced by Jon Leon, which, presumably makes him the Jon Schaffer of traditional metal. Nonetheless, the album's sound is very cohesive, and natural sounding. The production is good, capturing but not polishing the band, which partly makes it sound even more "retro". Musically, the album seems a bit faster, and a little more intense in places. There's more low-tempo stuff, but conversely, the high-tempo material is at a higher-tempo than the last album, which is one of the major distinct points which the band have created for themselves - while much of what they do has been done, not all of it has often been done at the tempo that White Wizzard pull it off.
It's not a bad album, that much is certain. It shows that the band have developed, and matured, and I wish I had much more hope for the bands future, but with the unstable lineup (The vocalist on this album has already left the band again) I don't know what the future holds for the band. Fortunately, they've battled through for a good while already, and managed to produce some reasonable material, which, hopefully, they can do again.
I give Flying Tigers 8/10.
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