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, "Wait for the Night"
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Tracks: 10 / Run Time: 39:28
Release: Cargo Records, 2021
Last year, Australia's Wicked Smile was kind enough to send me their self-released debut EP, Delirium, to review. I was impressed by the 4 tracks of polished, melodic-but-heavy '80s style metal on the EP, which hearkened back to the loud n' proud glory days of bands like Judas Priest, Dokken and Skid Row. Delirium remained on my playlist for quite some time after that review was published, and now the quintet has returned with their first full-length album, Wait for the Night, via the U.K.'s Cargo Records label. I am pleased to report that Wait for the Night picks up right where the Delirium EP left off, and these ten tracks of crunchy, anthemic hard rock will have the old schoolers throwin' their horns, air guitaring, and banging their heads like it's 1987 all over again.
All four songs from the Delirium EP ("We Fall," "Stronger," "Love's Got a Hold on You," and "Daze of Delirium") make return appearances on Wait for the Night, and they all sound great, slotting in nicely amongst six new tracks that carry the torch for '80s style metal most admirably. These guys maintain a nice balance between '80s melodic rock slickness and balls-to-the-wall heavy metal crunch which should appeal to a wide spectrum of rockers.
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The barnstorming opener "A Date With the Devil" kicks things off in fine fashion with a sweet Judas Priest bite, showcasing vocalist Danny Cecati (ex-Pegazus) in fine, howling form. The Dio-esque title track is next and it has an earworm chorus that will stick in your head for days after a few listens. "We Fall" is a sinister symphony that opens with the sounds of a didgeridoo (because... y'know, Australia) before it blasts into some of the heaviest, nastiest (I mean "nastiest" in a good way, of course) guitar riffs of the entire album.
The moody, Dokken-ish "Sign of Times" slows things down briefly and then kicks into "Daze of Delirium," which was my favorite track from the Delirium EP, and it still packs a punch here. "Killer At Large" and "Last Goodbye" chug along nicely with a fair share of six string heroics from the guitar team of Steve Janevski (a veteran of Aussie acts Cyclone Tracy, Black Majesty, and The Radio Sun) and Glen Cav.
"Love's Got a Hold On You" starts with some plaintive, moody guitar wailing that sounds like it's coming from far away, then when it switches into the main body of the track it reveals a solid melodic hard rocker with more than a hint of classic Dokken, complete with vocal harmonies to die for.
Some sweet acoustic picking leads into the ballad "Don't Wait For Me," a primo slice of emotional AOR which gives Cecati ample space to show off his impressive vocal range. After that brief get-your-lighters-out break, the album comes to a satisfactory close with the excellent "Stronger," a powerful anti-bullying anthem that Janevski says was inspired by the experiences of his teenage daughter Cassidy Paris, who was the lone "rocker chick" at her high school and who apparently took more than her fair share of crap for it.
"Wait for the Night"
Summing It Up
In addition to the stellar musical and vocal performances on Wait for the Night, the album sounds absolutely killer thanks to the solid production work by one time Danger Danger front man Paul Laine, and the mastering job by Laine's former D.D. band mate Bruno Ravel.
Wicked Smile has only been together since 2019, and they've already made impressive strides. With Wait for the Night, it's clear that this is a band who are ready for their close-up. Even If you missed the Delirium EP (and if you did, shame on you!), jump on Wait for the Night immediately and get up to speed on these latest hopefuls from Down Under. Fans of melodic '80s style hard rock and metal should receive Wicked Smile with open arms. Good on ya, mates!
For more information on Wicked Smile, you can check out their official Facebook page, and if you like what you hear, you can order a copy of the Wait for the Night CD from their label, Cargo Records. Enjoy!
© 2021 Keith Abt