When I received this Wizard promo I heaved a deep sigh of disappointment. Wizard, as you may recall (or check out the archived reviews), was a cliche metal band for the Teutonically inclined, with a bad sound and very mediocre compositions. A dubbed them a bad Manowar clone. In fact I received the CD well in time for it to be reviewed a month earlier, but when I listened to the album to write a quick slag-em-off review I didn't hear anything I'd expected....so I wanted to give them a few more plays and see what I'd come up with. I've played it quite a few times now, and this is the result...

Wizard have improved by leaps and bounds since "Bound by Metal"! Although they still make use of some rather downtrodden metal cliches involving war and metal, they sound damn good and most of the tracks on "Head of the Deceiver" are quite enjoyable. "Magic Potion" is a good up-tempo track in the vein of Rhapsody, as is "Revenge". There are a few classic singalong anthems ("Collective Mind" and "True Metal"), as well as a mid-tempo track like "The First One". The Manowar influences are clearly audible still, most particularly in "Defenders of Metal", containing lyrics like "Fight and kill! Kill with Steel!"

The band will definitely not be taken seriously by vast swathes of metal fans, mainly because of their blatant use of steel-and-mayhem cliches. Then again, that doesn't stop Manowar and Sacred Steel from being quite successful and finding their particular niche in the market. Regardless whether you like cliche metal lyrics or not, fact is that this time Wizard sounds good and their tracks have a variety of sonic redeeming features.



Written July 2001


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