Wicked Realm, Aug. 26, 2016: Shows I’ll Never Forget

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G-Daddy’s BBC, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: I’m prejudiced. Even before the music begins, when I see a Flying V guitar and a Marshall amp on stage, I am predisposed to like the band. I’m glad to report that Wicked Realm did right by these emblems of metal during their album-release party.

Milwaukee is a metal town. Motorhead, Anthrax and Death Angel have all used it for a final stop on their various tours. And why not? The bands are assured of true metal devotees when playing Milwaukee.

This fan devotion also brings pressure. When a regional collective plays for the locals, the band had better have things together. Wicked Realm did. Mike Trowbridge’s lead guitar work inspired bows of awe from audience members, and with good reason. Trowbridge was consistently interesting during his concise and powerful solos. The guitarist was often locked into a groove with bassist Tom McCartan, whose feature on “Out of Reach” essentially gave this quintet three lead players.

And what of that Flying V guitar? Ryan Hammerel played it for effective rhythm patterns most of night, but Hammerel also broke out a few of his own solos during this one hour set. Drummer Ernie Hunkins had no individual percussion feature, but rather gave consistent muscular backing to this tight ensemble.

Wicked Realm’s vocalist is Lindsay Jensen. A band’s singer usually can’t avoid the role of group leader during live gigs, but Jensen resisted this spotlight. She told the audience that she “would rather play than talk.” A personable presence, Jensen did give brief backstories to a few of the numbers, all taken from the band’s No More Fairytales release.

One of Jensen’s accomplishments was to successfully integrate her electric violin into Wicked Realm’s sound. The violin became a natural musical extension of this high decibel band, and was especially effective during the intense, yet downtempo introductory sections of a few numbers.

Wicked Realm should be proud of their new No More Fairytales project; it is a collection of well-performed original material that makes for a consistently strong set. The band should also be proud of the fact that they can make these songs come alive in concert. Prouder still should be the Milwaukee area for being able to call Wicked Realm our own.

Wicked Realm’s new album, ‘No More Fairytales,’ is available via their web site.

Tom Wilmeth

Tom Wilmeth

Tom Wilmeth, an English faculty member at Concordia University-Wisconsin since 1991, has given presentations and published widely on the topics of literature and music. Author of 'Sound Bites: A Lifetime of Listening,' he earned a Ph.D. at Texas A&M in College Station. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Wilmeth
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  • Fred Phillips

    Just checked out their site. Love the mix of old school traditional metal and more modern rock. Good stuff.