How many people out there have fond memories of the self-titled album from Whitesnake that took the world by storm in the mid-1980’s? If you do, and wish that you could hear more of the combination of John Sykes’ macho guitar work mixed with the gutsy vocals of David Coverdale, this debut from Wicked Sensation is the closest you are going to get. The band is led by singer Robert Soeterboek, a powerful vocalist squarely in the Coverdale mold, who has spent the last few years singing on albums from Ayreon and Erik Norlander. Joining him is a strong line-up of hot players that know how to lay down all the right metal clichés. Plainly speaking, this is one hot recording, despite it’s obvious lack of originality.
The guitar team of Michael Klein and Sang Vong provide thick and solid rhythm work to go along with plenty of flashy leads. The opening barn-burner “Magic Moments” has a heavy John Sykes vibe to it, in addition to a great vocal from Soeterboek, and gets things off to a great start. “You’re the Answer” has a catchy chorus to go along with the heavy riffs, mainly due to the excellent backing vocals from guest Damian Wilson, former singer of Threshold. Wilson shows up on a few other songs as well, and really adds a nice variable with his high pitched vocal style that is a strong contrast to Soeterboek. Speaking of Robert, he does his best Coverdale impression on one of the CD’s strongest cuts, “Stand Tall”, a song that also features razor sharp twin lead guitar work that never lets up. While the singer was always an impressive talent, his move into the spotlight with this new band is a revelation. His voice is filled with passion and fury, yet he knows when to turn it down and feature a more subdued and husky tone, as on “The Preacher” and “Love is Strange.” For those who might be a bit skeptical of my comparisons to Whitesnake, let me remark that while much of this CD sounds remarkably like that band, Reflected is much heavier than anything they ever did at any period in their career. One listen to the manic “Highspeed Chase” with its power metal rhythm section and brutal guitar riffs is a testament to the heaviness of these thirteen tracks.
Like I mentioned earlier, this CD really breaks no new ground, but it contains some great playing, catchy hooks, and introduces the world to a great new vocal talent. If you are looking for the sequel to the Whitesnake album had John Sykes stayed with the band, this might be close to what it would have sounded like.