WAIT FOR THE NIGHT
To be released on September 24, 2021 (Wicked Smile); on October 15, 2021 in the UK (Cargo Records); and, on October 27, 2021 in Japan (Bickee Music Japan)
Review by Rockney Colin:
Following on from their 2020 EP Delirium, Australia’s Wicked Smile have unleashed their debut album, which has apparently been much anticipated by many in the classic rock fraternity, and things do get off to a cracking start with the driving rocker “A Date With The Devil.” Album title track “Wait For The Night” follows in a similar style with superb all round playing, a fine vocal performance and a stirring chorus.
So far so good, but then things get a little skewed for me as “We Fall” has more than a little Iron Maiden influence in style which has always, I’m afraid, left me completely cold. “Sign of The Times” references Dio in its dramatic execution and again this has little interest for me despite being extremely well delivered. “Daze of Delirium” adds to the aforementioned references but does at least have a more infectious chorus and another fine vocal that prevented me from reaching for the skip button.
Current single (at time of writing) “Killer At Large” brings the album right back on track for me with a sleazier and rockier delivery than the previous tracks and all the better for it as far as I’m concerned. “Last Goodbye” has a Quiet Riot style to it with a cool Sunset Strip styled, overall effect that was certainly welcomed by me. This continues with “Love’s Got A Hold On You” which owes more than a cursory nod to classic era Skid Row and must surely be a contender for the next single release. The rather wimpy and forgettable ballad “Don’t Wait For Me” follows, before “Stronger” closes the album in Ozzy styled bombast.
It’s an album of two halves really. On the one hand, there are the infectious, gang style rockers and, on the other, you have all the Maiden affected drama, and the two styles seem largely at odds with each other, to these ears. It’s all perfectly produced as you would expect at the hands of Paul Laine and Bruno Ravel. The twin guitar assault of Stevie Janevski and Dave Graham will certainly satisfy those longing for quality solos, and Danny Cecati handles the vocal duties in impeccable style throughout.
Ultimately , if you’re a fan of Ozzy, Black Sabbath and particularly Iron Maiden, then you will find much to enjoy and applaud on this polished debut, but for those of us who desire a little more heart and sleaze, you are left rather forlornly wanting. Still, each to their own, of course.
Review by Daz:
I consider myself very eclectic when it comes to music. As long as a song sounds good, has a nice groove and a memorable rhythm, for me it doesn’t really matter what the style or genre is. For this reason, one moment I could be listening to my main go-to music which is thrash metal, and the next I could be listening to something more subdued like melodic rock. Variety is the spice of life they say. But as many rock and metal fan would acknowledge, our enjoyment of a song primarily comes down to two determining factors — the riff and the solo.
Australian band Wicked Smile gave us a tease of what they could offer in the way of riffs and solos when they released their four track EP titled Delirium in July 2020. The band itself was progressively formed in late 2019, so to release an EP during the restrictions of Covid was impressive, as was the overall quality of the release, which provided a great slab of straight up in your face heavy rock. Delirium received great reviews and anticipation was high for what the band would deliver in the way of a full-length album.
That time has now come, and Wicked Smile have scheduled September 24th as the release date for their ten-track debut album titled Wait For The Night, with the UK getting their own release date of October 15th where the album can be ordered exclusively through Cargo Records. At the time of writing this review, the band also announced that Wait For The Night will be released in Japan on October 27th through Bickee Music Japan. After listening to Wait For The Night several times, I can simply say that Wicked Smile have continued on from where Delirium left off and they provide us with more big riffs, more blistering solos and more great heavy rock songs. And just for something different, they even throw in a few surprises for good measure.
The first thing to note is that of the ten tracks on the album, six are brand new compositions and four are tracks that were previously released on the Delirium EP. I suspect the reason for this is because of the overwhelmingly positive response the band received for the EP, that it was only natural for them to try and capitalize on that quickly with their new batch of completed songs. Therefore, if you were lucky enough to pick up one of the limited physical copies of Delirium, you could potentially be holding onto a future collector’s item. For the purposes of this review, I will forgo commenting on the songs “We Fall”, “Daze of Delirium”, “Love’s Got A Hold On You”, and “Stronger”, as the previous EP review should suffice. Ultimately, I will say that those songs are all fantastic riff driven heavy rock, with plenty of melody, lots of energy and great performances all round.
Wait For The Night opens with “Date With The Devil” which begins with an overdriven phased in rumbling bass that serves as a precursor to the pending rock onslaught. Then it is full steam ahead as the first riff hits and the intro guitar lead break starts to squeal. Things back off slightly to allow the vocals to become the focal point during the verse, before we are taken to a catchy chorus full of harmonized background vocals. In terms of structures, Wicked Smile keep things relatively simple on most of their songs with a typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus, type pattern which in a basic sense, satisfies things from a commercial aspect for most consumers. After the second chorus, there is a short interlude that reminds me of the interlude in Mötley Crüe’s “Hooligan’s Holiday”, before the solo comes in with plenty of bends and fretboard runs. “Date With The Devil” is a great opening song that hits you hard, albeit very quickly, and leaves you wanting more.
The title track “Wait For The Night” is next and changes things up structurally by including a pre-chorus and having the main riff also play throughout the verses. There is a slight Iron Maiden feel to the song as the main riff is reminiscent to a heavier version of “2 Minutes To Midnight”, bar the concluding bookend notes. Additionally, Danny Cecati’s vocals — which soar all over the album — have a style very similar to Bruce Dickinson’s. Danny’s bio indicates that his musical background has been in power metal, so the fusion of his particular style of singing with these big rock riffs is a treat, and sets Wicked Smile apart from the current crop of rock bands, which in my opinion are all starting to sound the same. The song concludes with a melodic guitar solo that doesn’t over do things and ends with another energetic chorus.
Following “We Fall”, we are presented with “Sign of Times” which starts off with a soothing guitar arpeggio that is accompanied by a blues inspired melody. This is short lived though as we are quickly thrust into some big power chords and transported to a mid-tempo Dio inspired riff. The verses on this song have a lot of breathing room where the riff is allowed to ring out while the vocals and drums take center stage. Once again, Danny howls like a banshee while prophetically warning us that the world is in a very bleak state. In fact, these lyrics could be referencing the current pandemic. Things fill out a bit more sound wise during the pre-chorus to increase the intensity before we move onto a very creative stop start type chorus. Instrumentally, everyone is on par right here allowing the song to flow nicely without any particular individual overshadowing the song. Drummer Jason Tyro commands his troops with precision and successfully manages to keep the beat tight. Mid-song, we are unexpectedly transitioned to a dreamy acoustic guitar section, which again is only short lived before Stevie Janevski’s trademark guitar squeals erupt and lead us into the solo. “Sign of Times” is a welcome change of pace and the first sign of the band experimenting outside their usual commercial heavy rock style, resulting in a more classic heavy metal vibe.
Next is “Daze of Delirium” which is followed by “Killer At Large”, another straight up rocker that is in and out before you know it. The play off this time is with the guitars, as one provides us with a high pitched rhythm while the other lays down some big power chords over the top. After a quick riff transition and another lead break, the guitars sync up together for the verses. The riff itself is standard metal fare and has basically been heard a thousand times before. This could be said for most of the riffs on this album, but it is the rhythmic delivery, and accompanying melodies and leads that take them to another place. “Last Goodbye” is next and has a riff that reminders me of ’80s Ozzy Osbourne. I love how the chorus seems to down shift the momentum of the song with deeper notes instead of the typical way a chorus usually becomes more sprightly and upbeat. The song is definitely one of my favorites, and has a catchy chorus with some great lyrical content.
“Love’s Got A Hold On You” follows, before the final new song “Don’t Wait For Me” takes us on an unexpected journey. If you have ever read any of my previous reviews, you will know that I am not a big fan of ballads. I could probably count on one hand the amount of ballads that I find acceptable. But in the case of “Don’t Wait For Me”, I will say here and now that it is a beautiful song which I have had to add to my tally. The trademark crunchy rock guitars have been dispensed with this time around and replaced with an acoustic guitar. It is a simple affair with a lovely arpeggio playing along with some long synthesized atmospheric notes thanks to a keyboard. In a way, the songs reminds me a lot of Queensrÿche’s “Silent Lucidity”. Danny absolutely shines here and gives us a masterclass in his vocal capabilities. On the opening line of the song, his voice is so low in tone that it doesn’t even sound like him. And his high vibrato at the end of certain lines is absolutely sublime. Drums finally join proceedings after the first chorus and remain to hold a simple beat. When it is time for the guitar solo to come in, it does so with subtlety and really compliments the mood of the song. The solo has that epic-ness to it that makes me think of the solo in Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain”. The final song “Stronger” rounds out the album and sends us off with a final blast of heavy rock.
Performance wise, the band is extremely tight and the rhythm section of Jason Tyro on drums and Glen Cav on bass, provides the perfect foundation. The guitar work from Stevie Janevski and Dave Graham is fantastic, and what more can I say about Danny Cecati’s vocals that I haven’t said already. Recording wise, the songs all sound big and in your face thanks to the great work of Paul Laine and Bruno Ravel.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the tracks on this album, and even though most of the song structures are the same and the riffs are recognizable, it probably assists the albums likability by making it familiar to the general listener. Make no mistakes, the songs on Wait For The Night have purposely been written to be commercially friendly, even if they retain a fair bit of edge. If you are a fan of simple straight up heavy rock that is meant to be played loud, then this album is definitely for you.
01. A Date With The Devil
02. Wait For The Night
03. We Fall
04. Sign 0f Times
05. Daze of Delirium
06. Killer At Large
07. Last Goodbye
08. Love’s Got A Hold On You
09. Don’t Wait For Me
Danny Cecati – vocals
Stevie Janevski – guitar
Dave Graham – guitar
Glen Cave – bass
Jason Tyre – drums
Produced by Paul Laine
Mastered by Bruno Ravel
Reviewed by Rockney Colin and Daz for Sleaze Roxx, September 2021
Wicked Smile‘s “Last Goodbye” video:
Wicked Smile‘s “Killer At Large” video: