History is written by the victors.
-- WildHeart --
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
Wildheart is a band I’ve been in touch with for several years now, ever since I first saw them live in early 2015 in the Spiraal in Geraardsbergen, the same venue where their own festival Wildfest takes place. A year later the inaugural edition of said Wildfest event took place as well as Wildheart releasing their debut album, which I liked a lot (read my review here: http://belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/44). Now, Wildfest has become a beloved hard, glam and sleaze rock festival with a international audience and Wildheart have released their well-anticipated second album. But enough talk, shred at you!
No Love is the second album from the Belgian hard rock band Wildheart. It’s another independent release and succeeds their self-titled debut album from 2016. And as was the case back then, Wildheart’s new material was sent to me by my Dutch friends at Hard Life Promotion.
At its core, Wildheart plays energetic hard rock inspired by the likes of Whitesnake, Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe and Van Halen and if you’ve listened to their debut release then this new material will instantly sound and feel familiar. This is also thanks in part to Wildheart’s unchanged lineup. Lineup changes happen more often than not and I’m very pleased to see how the Wildheart crew has remained consistent over the years.
And as a result, Wildheart’s traits that made their debut album so sweet are still here. Both guitarists Foxx and Juice jam out virtuosic guitar solos, drummer Thunderberck and bassist Steve Dee provide tight rhythms and vocalist Farty brings the catchy lyrics in his typically high, recognizable voice. The new songs also maintain their typical length, going smoothly over 5 minutes without feeling dragged out. The band did include some more variety in themes (more on that later) and overall style and atmosphere. Some songs like “Tonight We Rock” are fast-paced party rock tunes while other tracks such as “Rumours” are slower and more sentimental in nature and finally there’s groovy sleaze rock in the form of “Good To Be Bad” and a traditional love ballad called “Valerie.”
Aside from the increased song variety I was also happy to hear that Wildheart had cranked up the production values compared to their debut. In No Love, Thunderberck’s drums pound stronger, Juice’s and Foxx’s riffs sound more epic, Farty’s vocals are clearer and more commanding and Steve Dee’s bass lines feel crisper. This all makes Wildheart sound even more like a larger-than-life stadium rock band and I believe that’s the road they should keep on following. This high-octane and optimistic rock for all ages and races is truly Wildheart’s strength and I already can’t wait for a follow-up!
The front cover shows a spandex wearing topless girl looking into a broken, heart-shaped mirror. Too bad the mirror doesn’t show her reflection, and so only the pictures of the five Wildhearts can look at her gorgeous front. Sexuality aside, I like the hand-drawn style of the artwork, it reminds me of the Belgian erotic comic book series “Red Ears.”
The themes on No Love are more varied than the first album, while the usual hard rock topics like femmes fatales, partying and riding off into the sunset are all present, the band also plays songs about history being (re)written by the people in power and the reputation destroying power of gossip. Fortunately, the band never goes into dark, depressive mode, they acknowledge that the world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but they also confidently tell that things can certainly improve if appropriate action is taken! A true fighting spirit!
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
The honor goes to track 6, “One Way Ticket To Paradise.” It’s such a joyful tune about getting on the motorcycle and going out into the wide open world and enjoying all the good things in life. The riffs are so groovy that I could already hear the engines humming. Another favorite of mine is track 4, “Dutch Courage.” While the song is about alcohol (yeah, like so many others) Farty narrates about the stress and nervousness he feels before going on stage and that he needs to drink a few shots to calm down his nerves. I believe many stage performers and public speakers can relate to such sense of anxiety. At least I certainly can!
Worst tracks? Can’t think of any, the material on No Love is of consistent high quality from beginning to end! Although I wish for two things when the third Wildheart album comes around: a 4 or 5 minute instrumental (wherein Foxx and Juice can steal the show even more than they usually do) and a record label! So Wildheart, get out there and get yourselves a deal, you deserve it! And in case you guys need some motivation to start that quest, here’s a tasty...
9 topless mirror girls out of 10! If you enjoyed Wildheart’s eponymous first album then give “No Love” some love (no need to pardon me for the poor wordplay). The Wildheart boys have taken all the strengths they showcased in their already impressive debut and added higher production values and tighter songwriting to create an epic successor! Too bad I can’t be present at Wildfest this year (the finals of WOA Metal Battle Belgium take place that same day) but if you’re heading to Wildfest, then be sure to get hold of this new hard rock gem! Here’s the lyric video for No Love’s title track.