Wail - Resilient

Wail Resilient cover
Oi! I’ve just come across yet another festively whirligigin’ “heavy/power metal” act in Lillehammer, Norway’s Wail (not whale!) thanks to its recent nine-track full-length debut, “Resilient”, digitally released via Indigobloom Records; actually, one look at the diabolically colorful cover art as well as buddy’s hysterically decorative bow tie was all it took to harpoon me in!
Featuring taut and free-falling, at times tucking guitar riffs backed by majestically spinning keys, like on the gripping, Mega Man-ish opener “Never No More” or super liberating with a capital “L” rollick-er “By Your Hand”, which features an apocalyptic, tormenting keyboard solo mimicking a memorable guitar riff off Warning Sign’s “Left to the Sharks”! and sporting, upper-cutting, “Thrill of the Hunt”, the quasi-theatrical sextet is along similar lines as Cardiant and Crawler while benefiting from an intrepid and provocative front man in Joakim Jøreng, who brings to mind a warbling, albeit more widely ranging cross between Steelwing’s Riley and Wolf’s Niklas “Viper” Stålvind, notably on the rather mournful and despondent, not-quite-as fist pumping cuts.
While Wail is effectively a dual-guitar band, leads are few and far between as Thor B. Gundersen and Kim-Ruben Sletten predominantly opt for doubly backed rhythms, which flow in wicked harmony with Simen Hagen Voll’s rampant, at times frigid keyboard interludes. Less harried tracks include the hauntingly piano introduced “Dark Messiah” and lugubriously chanted “Initiation”, while further atypical p-metal synergies are gleaned on the rapidly shuffling, though somewhat mundane and prosaic, “He’s Finally Here” and bizarre semi-romping, semi-waltzing “Mary”. Weirdly, this is the thing about “Resilient”; if all (or most) of its tracks rocked and rolled like “Never No More”, “By Your Hand”, “Thrill of the Hunt” or late-in-the-game, bass heavy and plucking haranguer “Protector”, the album would have been rated higher. For now, Wail’s widely varying, up and down, roller-coasting song constructs and emotive pitfalls conflict with its core compelling edge, which I dearly hope to see/hear in full bloom the next time around i.e. an eventual sophomore which lays overblown whimsy to the side and thus fully grips the reigns (and antlers!) of its evident high potential.
On a positive note, “Resilient” portentously bookends itself with a hard-driving and snarky-edged closer/title track, which also features a leisurely, if not woebegone forecast in the form of a spoken, Nostradamus style prediction prior to a rare and atmospheric lead guitar outro, per-requisite keys included. For its part, the rhythm section comprised of bassist Torkjell Hagen Voll and drummer Memet Ødegaard Cataltepe (ever consider pseudonyms or metal monikers, sons?) duly pulls its weight throughout, notably on the aforementioned “Protector”.
If anything, Wail has certainly provided Lillehammer – home of the 1994 Winter Olympics – a further claim to fame. Fans of garden variety power and traditional heavy metal will surely pat themselves on the back for checking it out.