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WILDESTARR Beyond The Rain

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 @ 1:53 PM

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Beyond The Rain

Scarlet Records, 2017

Somewhere beyond the rain
I found another place
Where music kills my pain
It's steel and it's fire

Sometimes it's a riff, sometimes it's a hook line and sometimes it's the lyrics of a song that grab you and that come exactly at the right moment, depending on your current mindset. In the case of the release under consideration, it was the words from the title track of WILDESTARR's third studio album, Beyond The Rain, released on 8 December last year through the Italian label Scarlet Records, that immediately hit me -- which may tell you something about my present state of mind as well as about this album.

The songwriting process for this album was overshadowed by the tragic suicide of singer and keyboardist London Wilde's brother, a musician who was frustrated with the struggles in the music industry, which was something everybody in the band could relate to. Turning tragedy into inspiration, former VICIOUS RUMORS bassist Dave Starr, in whose most capables hands are both bass and guitar in WILDESTARR, his wife London Wilde and drummer Josh Foster came up with the ten killer tracks that make up Beyond The Rain.

The intro, “Metamorphus”, is a 1:04 instrumental opener you would typically expect from power or symphonic metal acts – twin guitars, descending triads, then an eighth note groove and a melodic guitar line ending in a minor chord. Because of the pause between “Metamorphus” and the ensuing “Beyond The Rain”, this intro, however, leaves you somewhat hanging in the air. Whether this intro was really necessesary is debatable. Musically, it is misleading. Stripped of each and every power metal cliché that may have been expected, WILDESTARR deliver one emotionally loaded, modern sounding metal track with a good dash of alternative and always with a rough rock attitude after the other. The songs burst with heavy, bone-dry, often sophisticated and complex rhythm parts and soaring vocals, which occasionally go through the roof, as it is the case on “Pressing The Wires”, a forward-pressing uptempo number. Seriously, every time London Wilde's voice takes off when she sings the word “flow” in the chorus, I am worried about the window panes. The track that probably best demonstrates Wilde's impressive vocal range and different timbres is “Double Red”, where she starts the verse in the lower register but soon ascends into the higher regions of her head register, always staying in command, always expressive and always straight in your face. Dave Starr's awesome lead guitar work sonically counterbalances Wilde's spectacular vocals.

What this album thankfully lacks is catchiness, which in this case is a sure sign of musical sincerity and good taste. The songs need to be listened to a few times but the more often they are played, the more they reveal their depth and intensity. A possible exception is “Down Cold”, a track whose mood of desparation is bound to hit you straight away. My personal favorite track, and it is hard to name one thanks to the richness of this album, is the balladesque “Crimson Fifth”. That one will definitely leave you with the most uneasy feeling.

No, there is nothing “nice” and easy to listen on this album and that is exactly the point of it. Beyond The Rain is an album born out of tragedy and WILDESTARR transport the disbelief, sadness, desperation, and melancholy in rough and authentic music with meaningful lyrics. From the title track to the fast metal anthem “When The Night Falls”, the album is full of killers without any fillers.

Whether some tragedy has hit you lately, or you've been on one of those emotional roller coaster rides we all have to go through or if you just want decent, honest, intense and upfront modern metal music, Beyond The Rain is your album.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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