I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Wicked Smile—"Delirium" EP
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Run Time: 14:47
It looks like 2020 is going to go down as the "Year of the Aussie Metal Invasion" for me. I recently reviewed the latest album by Australian power-metallers Ilium for this very site, and now Wicked Smile, a new hard rockin' retro-metal band from Melbourne, was kind enough to send a copy of their debut EP, Delirium, for my consideration. "We Fall," the lead-off single from the 4-track EP, was made available on digital platforms back in January to an ecstatic response from the hard rock community.
Wicked Smile may be a new band, but a peek behind the curtain reveals several familiar names. Lead vocalist Danny Cecati is a veteran of Down Under true metallers Pegazus (whose 1999 album Breaking the Chains is a longtime underground fave of mine) and Eyefear, while guitarist Stevie Janevski has jammed with Black Majesty, The Radio Sun, and Cyclone Tracy.
On Delirium, this duo combine forces to whip up a power-packed quartet of tunes that hearken back to the good ole days of '80s metal. The Delirium EP was produced by Paul Laine (formerly of Danger Danger, currently with The Defiants), who also played bass on the recordings. The band's hype sheet says that "fans of Judas Priest, Dio, and Skid Row... should feel right at home" with Wicked Smile, and they definitely deliver on that promise. This is the kind of music I grew up listening to, and it does my aging metal-nerd heart good to hear a new band bringing that old school sound into the 21st century so convincingly.
In a nutshell: Wicked Smile rocks! (throws devil horns) .
"Love's Got A Hold On You"
The buzzing sound of a didgeridoo (because, y'know... Australia) provides the intro to Delirium's all-guns-blazing opening track, "We Fall," a headbanging number that's loaded with solid, crunchy guitar riffwork from Janevski and soaring vocals from Cecati. It's been a long time since I last heard Danny's oh-so-metal, Dickinson/Dio inspired voice and I'm pleased to report that it has aged well. This track is the heaviest offering on the EP and it gets things off to a great start.
The defiant and proud anthem "Stronger" is next up and it's a potent slice of melodic metal ala Skid Row's first album. Stevie says he wrote this song "to highlight the issue of bullying in schools and in society as a whole," which is a particularly timely subject in light of recent events around the world. After a few spins, the chorus "You can try to knock me down, you can try to push me around, I will be stronger!" is bound to be stuck in your head for quite a while.
Wicked Smile lets up on the gas pedal just a bit on "Love's Got A Hold On You," a slick, catchy, mid-paced melodic metal cut in the vein of late '80s Judas Priest. The squealing, wailing guitars and high pitched vocal screams do the Metal Gods proud.
Delirium comes to an end with the hard-driving final track, "Daze of Delirium," which is another solid pounder that finds the perfect balance between sing-along, melodic-rock catchiness and air-guitar worthy heavy metal crunch.
All in all, Delirium was fifteen minutes well spent and it definitely left me wanting to hear more. Wicked Smile is the real deal!
Summing It Up
Delirium is a killer rookie-card release from a pair of seasoned scene veterans that clearly know how to produce powerful old-school metal tunes. I hope that there's a full-length recording in Wicked Smile's near future. If they can continue to create songs at the same level as Delirium, then the sky could be the limit for these guys. Fans of the aforementioned Judas Priest and Skid Row, as well as other melodic-but-heavy acts like Dokken, Shotgun Messiah, Crashdiet, and Accept are missing out on some good stuff if they don't check Wicked Smile out ASAP!
If you like what you hear in the YouTube samples included with this review, you can learn more about Wicked Smile via their Facebook page, and you can pre-order a copy of the Delirium CD at their official Merchandise site, which also offers a variety of Wicked Smile t-shirts, stickers and other swag. Tell'em I sent ya!
© 2020 Keith Abt