Something Else! sneak peek: White Wizzard, “Marathon of Dreams” (2014)

It’s an old, familiar tale for these guys now, as another implosion last summer left the once-promising traditional metal outfit White Wizzard reeling again. The band split in ugly fashion with latest singer Michael Joseph, as accusations flew back and forth between the camps.

With everything up in the air, Earache Records severed ties, and now White Wizzard founder and bassist Jon Leon is trying to put things back together again with his own label.

“Marathon of Dreams” is the first track to come from the latest version of the band, and at least one issue that’s haunted White Wizzard from the beginning seems to be resolved. The rotating door of singers may be over as Leon has decided to take over the vocal duties himself. He’s also playing guitars and basses on the track.

For those who’ve followed White Wizzard in the past, there won’t be any surprise with this track. It’s very much in the early-1980s metal vein, heavily influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement with trilling dual guitar licks and galloping rhythms. There’s a nice solo break that has something of a more exotic feel to it. Lyrically, Leon seems to be addressing the band’s latest troubles as he talks about rising and moving on in a positive manner while not losing sight of his goals.

Considering all the troubles that White Wizzard has had with vocalists over the years, it’s a little surprising that Leon didn’t decide to move behind the microphone sooner. His voice is fitting for the sound, though perhaps not as dynamic as Wyatt Anderson — my favorite of the five singers that have been through the band.

The song itself, while entertaining as it plays, isn’t very memorable. Then again, my opinion could be colored by the chaos that has seemed to surround White Wizzard from the beginning.

While I’d love to hear another record that has the same impact that 2010’s Over the Top had on me when it was released, I have to wonder if it’s possible for White Wizzard to regroup and hit those heights again. In the end, “Marathon of Dreams” is kind of fun, but sounds pretty much exactly like numerous other songs from the band’s catalog.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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