So yeah, a new White Wizzard album. From what I have seen, this news made about as much impact as their miserably failed ¾ High Speed GTO era reunion at Frost and Fire in 2016. The big deal surrounding Infernal Overdrive is that this album marks the return of original guitarist James J. LaRue and fan favorite vocalist Wyatt “Screamin’ Demon” Anderson. Before going into this album, I promised myself that I would keep an open mind. While I have been sadly underwhelmed by the band’s output since their masterpiece Over the Top, I just felt like I had to give this thing an honest listen.
Right out the gates, the opening title track just left me scratching my head. Tsk, tsk, tsk, Jon Leon. If you are going to open up your album with a song that is a subpar song that borders on plagiarism, you might as well just admit that you are creatively and artistically bankrupt. I’m not even going to say what song it ripped off because the minute you hear it you will know it right away. Ok, it’s “Painkiller” by Judas Priest. Anyway, from there, I hoped that this album would get better and honestly, I really wanted it to but sadly, my wish went un-granted as I was pummeled song after song full of predictable music, solos that just seemed to be there for sake of having a solo with no connection to the song, and horrible lyrics. “Lost in you I’m chasing dragons in my mind. Searching for the final rhyme. Drunk on love’s poison wine. “ Yes, that’s an actual lyric.
Infernal Overdrive is initially just another White Wizzard album that I find to be unlistenable and not even remotely interesting. Maybe things would have been better if Jon could’ve kept a consistent lineup starting with the Over the Top lineup. That band had a chemistry and connection to the songs and you could tell they were ready to take on the world but they crumbled before my very eyes and were replaced by various cherry picked musicians which made it hard to maintain any level of consistency. Maybe that would also explain the decline in Jon Leon’s songwriting. Without a solid band of brothers behind you, it’s hard to find that inspiration. Hell, even Wyatt has been quoted as saying, “The only reason I came back to White Wizzard is because the fans wanted me.” This is coming from someone who publically expressed his disdain for Jon Leon. Yeah, that would make anyone feel uninspired. You can also just default to a two word review: Shite Wizzard
White Wizzard’s chance was here, it was grabbed, and it was lost a long time ago. At this point, Infernal Overdrive is a man grasping at straws. If I had to describe this album in a nut shell I would have to say this: Imagine that you get two really amazing architects (James LaRue and Wyatt Anderson) who are true masters who are great at what they do. You hire them to build the shittiest, ugliest fucking building you can imagine and they do it. Then the guy who designed this monstrosity steps back and says, “This is the best building I’ve ever designed” while everyone just stares and says, “Hmmm.” The sad thing is that, much like this scenario, these great architects will forever have their names affixed to a massively subpar product. That, my friends, is the hugest tragedy of it all.