After a fairly muted response to their last album, Pedal To The Metal, Impellitteri return to the tried and tested formula of old by welcoming back vocalist Rob Rock for this, their ninth studio album. And whilst by and large the results are somewhat predictable (extreme shredding at frantic speeds, galloping rhythms and screaming vocals) there are some decent enough songs to be found on Wicked Maiden which makes for something of a return to form even if they are not exactly breaking any new ground. What is also refreshing is that despite his undoubted virtuoso abilities Chris Impellitteri reigns in any excessive tenancies and allows enough room for the songs to take on a life of their own without being weighed down by his reputation.
Kicking of the album at breakneck speed is the title track with some powerhouse drumming from Brandon Wild and Rock's sledgehammer vocal making an immediate impact. Elsewhere, 'Weapons of Mass Distortion', 'Garden of Eden' and 'The Vision' are all strong songs that prove to be far more than just a showcase for Chris' breathtaking solos and blistering riffs. The huge chorus in 'Eyes of an Angel' is another winner as is the tongue-in-cheek 'High School Revolution'.
Impellitteri have never been a band to be taken too seriously and the bottom line here is that this is an album aimed squarely at their loyal fan base and is a successful attempt to win back those who were turned off by its more modern sounding predecessor. The return of Rock is clearly a major factor in this and if he sticks around long enough to record a follow-up this can only work to the advantage of all concerned.
Last of a Dying Breed
Weapons Of Mass Distortion
Garden Of Eden
Eyes Of An Angel
High School Revolution
The Battle Rages On