“We are slaves in the hands of fate, from the cradle to the grave!” Good luck getting that out of your head for the rest of your life. Thus I was introduced to Wisdom, another promising band from that most obscure of metal countries: Hungary. First Chronology, now this, what’s going on over there? I shall book a ridiculously cheap flight to Budapest and find out! In the meantime, let’s get to business.
I’ve gone through a bit of an evolution with “Judas”. First I was wowed by its energetic spirit and slick production. The opening snippet from this review, taken from first track “Fallin' Away From Grace” tells you all you need to know: this is power metal for the light-hearted, shimmering sing-along songs to brighten up the dreariest of days. Or exceptionally cold and dull showers. But joyful as that introduction may be, soon an uneasy awareness comes dawning.
See, after a few tracks of uncomplicated and cheerful power metal, some of the choruses start to sound a little too alike. Careful analysis may show that they’re not exactly the same, but if you’d cut one refrain out and replace it with another, you’d hardly hear the difference. Now – I hear you screaming – this is not a genre that requires a lot of distinction, but interchangeability is not a characteristic of this genre, but lazy songwriting. Creative as the melodies are in leads and verses, the icing all tastes the same, instead of giving a song its extra flavor. Compare “Age Of Lies” and “Live Forevermore” and if you think that’s completely different, you’ve probably never seen how your brother’s eyes resemble the mailman’s more than your father’s.
So by the time you’ve reached the second half of “Judas” there are no surprises left, except for the title track, which has at least a fresh(er) pre-chorus, before moving on to once again, a very similar refrain. I’m not condemning Wisdom for sticking to a formula, but when you display this much potential everywhere else in the song, I find it puzzling why the choruses haven’t been extended the same courtesy. I admire the work the band has done here, but I feel they could do so much more.
Plus, and this is just me nagging now, I wondered why the textual material on “Judas” is often way darker than its happy nature suggests. There’s really no believing that the world of “Silent Hill” is nightmarish when it’s sung to a tune even the Smurfs would deem as being too upbeat. I wish my nightmares were like that, instead of being rife with demons, grandmothers and the latest Hammerfall-album. Just a small complaint, and Wisdom aren’t the only offenders in this regard, but I find the divergence between lyrics and music striking.
In the end, I’m not especially disappointed in this album as I’m curious why there seems to be a lack of polish in places. “Judas” is a fine treat for a sunny afternoon, and I’m keeping a look out for more Wisdom to come. Rhyme totally unintended, and I bet you wouldn’t have even noticed, if I hadn’t just called attention to it. Whatever.
Arno Callens' rating: 3.5 out of 5