Written by: PP on 31/01/2009 19:01:19

Usually I'm the first one to poke holes into the not-so-shiny armor of German heavy/power metal, but lately the bands on offer from the country have been deserving a little more attention and praise than usual. Wizard's eight album "Thor" (guess what the album's about, heh) is one of the records that I've found to be a thoroughly interesting listen, both because of the awesome speed metal oriented axework and the mysticism and pagan lyrical themes found on the record.

Want an example? "Stolen Hammer" is a track that really should've been written by a Norwegian band instead. The song's pure German heavy metal alright, but consider the epic chorus in the song: "I am THOR, the mighty God, the lord of rain and storm, now feel the fire, for feast it shall be warm". Not just are the lyrics awesome (cmon, Thor is easily the coolest Norse God of them all), but the way the vocals are delivered really makes one feel inferior, as if it was Thor himself thunderously singing those vocals. This song alone has impressed me so much that I'm willing to nominate it as one of the best choruses I've ever heard on a power/heavy metal album - and that's quite an achievement with Helloween, Gamma Ray and Dragonforce normally topping my list.

Speaking of Helloween and Gamma Ray, the influence of both bands can be heard across the record. "Asgard" had me thinking of the first mentioned straight away, and the technical speed-metal shredding of "Utgard (Part 1)" screams Gamma Ray's better material all the way. At least in my ears, but check it out and see if you agree.

The whole album is actually a split between aggressive speed metal songs and balladic heavy metal material. While the prior works mostly because of the sheer pace and shredding, I still find myself returning to the heavy metal songs more often because the choruses in these are far superior, check "What Would You Do?" for another great example.

For anyone who has lost hope with the German heavy/power metal scene, Wizard is a good reminder that although 99% of the bands in the scene aren't even worth spending download bandwidth on, there are a few great ones to keep an eye on, even if you don't usually particularly enjoy the genre.

Download: Stolen Hammer, What Would You Do?, Serpent's Venom
For the fans of: Grave Digger, Helloween, Gamma Ray
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.01.2009
Massacre Records

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