Wizard - Fallen Kings

Wizard Fallen Kings cover
Fallen Kings
Massacre Records
Defiantly, pounding away metal for nearly thirty years, with few lineup changes in all that time, Wizard have been a German metal force to be reckoned with and one of the few that wouldn’t cause uncontrollable laughter as most of their out of tune “epic” counterparts that must have really lit a thousand candles since they “discovered” autotune – although some of them, still seem oblivious…
“Fallen Kings” is their twelfth effort and they do what they did in their previous eleven albums… playing metal that is… in a way that feels like Manowar, without all the “over the top” antics. Sven D’Anna’s voice is muscular and epic and he carefully avoids to expose himself by almost always keeping within his comfort zone… obviously nearly three decades will affect your tone a bit and he’s no exception, but at least he’s adapted quite gracefully.
Opener, “Liar and Betrayer” is probably one of the songs where they do sound a bit over the top, with D’Anna even pushing himself a bit to his limits, the overall Manowar meets Hammerfall, style, is probably a little treacherous and despite the aplomb with which the band goes about, it does leave a bit to be desired in terms of heaviness.
“We’re the Masses” again, goes for the “thinner” more epic style, which D’Anna can still do, but sometimes sounds challenged doing… it’s not the faux Manowar style, but the overall chorus being rather weak on this one that drags it down considerably...
“Live Your Life” is managing to hit the exact stride and tone where the band sounds best and while it’s not the most inspired moment ever, it’s energetic riffing really leaves you little time to think about it…
“Brothers in Spirit” is all about “fellowship in metal”, but manages to not be particularly corny… thankfully as well as being musically cool, showing things to be picking up.
“White Wolf” I think is inspired from the “witcher” saga’s but I’m not 100 % sure but it’s the first truly kick ass song – where the band sounds mean and meaning it…
“Wizard Until the End” is again one of those “we’ll never quit” sort of anthems, something that Manowar could have written and despite the lyrics being of the “emmentaler” variety, the overall song makes you want to throw your fists up – which I guess is what they must have been after.
“Father to Son” begins with lots of guitar and a somewhat darker tone, without avoiding the cheesy heroic lyrics, but it sounds “right” overall... although it might have worked a little better, as part of a concept… you know when you hear lyrics like “Fight, Kill, Win”… don’t expect deep and profound themes; not that you would picking up this. Comes with the territory – you know… come to think of it and because I’m able to get some of the other verses, some of the songs allude to a loose concept, so maybe I’m wrong…
“Let Us Unite” could have been a dodgy “unity” anthem, but instead is a medium fast, rather epic number with a sing-along… could have done without the long choral, verse, but I guess it’s fine even with it included.
“Frozen Blood” is a decently heavy mid-tempo that almost wants to develop to a gallop in a few places, but never quite does; instead opting for a more measured approach, but it’s still pretty good and has a neat lead.
Lastly, “You’re the King” settles immediately in, with a heavier riff, an even more muscular mid-tempo that reminded me of a less competent Jag Panzer, but still in that vein with Sven sounding fuller than almost anywhere in the album… the vocals have a Guardianesque dramatic quality, but none of the silliness that sometimes comes with the overtly complex style of BG.
Despite starting with two of the weakest tracks, “Fallen Kings” manages to really deliver a nice and sturdy piece of metal in the way that these German Metallians have done for so long without fail, which is commendable. A far truer band than half of the “true”, but markedly shitty bands out there.