Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
WAIT FOR THE NIGHT
Released – Sept 24th 2021
Melbourne-based heavy rock band Wicked Smile is made up of 5 stalwarts of the Australian hard rock scene, fronted by charismatic powerhouse lead vocalist Danny Cecati (ex Pegazus & Eyefear) with Stevie Janevski (The Radio Sun, ex Black Majesty & Cyclone Tracy) and Dave Graham (ex In Malice’s Wake) on guitars, Glen Cav (ex Virtue) on bass and Jason Tyro on drums.
The debut EP, featuring Stevie J and Danny, backed by Paul Laine on bass, was released in 2020 and garnered some really positive responses from the underground rock and metal communities in Australia and over in the UK, where the band is tied up with the NWOCR crew, and performed at one of their excellent Webfest events.
The new album, Wait For The Night, again produced by Paul Laine (The Defiants & Danger Danger), kicks off with an absolute ripper in Date With The Devil, which has a killer riff, powerful rhythm superb lead breaks, and shows Danny’s vocal range to be pretty impressive – from a low throaty roar to soaring highs, with a lot of Bruce Dickenson and Rob Halford in the mix. Daze of Delirium was on the EP, and delivers a solid punch from the crushing guitars, but has a really catchy harmony chorus that my EP review compared to a cross between Backyard Babies and Reckless Love, hard, heavy and melodic at the same time.
Acoustic guitars and atmospheric keyboards open up Don’t Wait For Me, and sees Danny with a pure, clear vocal that spans several octaves and hits some impressive highs. The expectation builds through the song as you think it is going to explode, and sure enough the power ramps up as the solo erupts, leading into a true power-ballad for the final chorus, and then slowly fades back out as it started.
There is a more melodic rock feel to the next two tracks without losing the heaviness of the band’s overall sound. Killer At large sees some superb drumming from Jason, and a searing lead break from Stevie prior to each verse, in which Danny absolutely nails the vocals. If you love your Skid Row, Danger Danger and Dio then this band will hit a few of your hot buttons. The opening riffs to Last Goodbye are typical of the band’s sound, with a Randy Rhoads guitar feel, and a wall of harmony vocals that contribute to the immense sound. Stevie and Dave share the guitar heroics here, and the thought if this one being played live makes the mouth water. The ending is just awesome!
I assume the guys have re-recorded Love’s Got A Hold On You from the EP, and this still sounds huge, with the slightly menacing tone of the verse over the solid riff, before the superb pre-chorus and then the massive hook-line in the chorus that brings in hints of 1987-era Whitesnake, and a delightful harmony guitar break that leads into the final refrain and a reprise of that killer riff under Danny’s howls!
The beginning of Sign of Times provides an absolutely devastating riff from Stevie – very Jake E Lee or Vivian Campbell from those early Dio days, and Danny gives a barnstorming performance on lead vocals here, and the chorus is pure 1980’s melodic heavy rock. Solid bass and drums from Glen and Jason provide the piledriving foundations, and then Stevie opens up restrained but powerful solo that really shows off his dexterity and skill.
From the first seconds of Stronger you just know that this is going to be a crowd-pleaser, with a ball-tearing riff, enormous vocals, and then the catchiest chorus on the record with some epic backing harmonies. This takes me back to the likes of White Lion, Valentine and Hurricane – great melodic hard rock bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s, and Wicked Smile do this in style. The title track, Wait For The Night has another of those riffs, some harmony lead breaks, and a tour-de-force vocal performance from both Danny, and the backing in the chorus. The band are on fire from start to finish, lead guitars tracking the lead vocal melody, and bass and drums smashing out the accents.
Album-closer is another riff-fest and the opening passage is the most brutal thing the band has ever done. Danny’s opening vocals are dark and brooding, and the chorus keeps the malevolent feeling, while providing another example of a hugely contagious hook-line. We Fall is a killer track to end on, with a mid-section that sees the guitars let rip before diving back into a pre-chorus and chorus that showcase Danny’s almost operatic vocal style – so powerful and strong, with such clarity of tone that is quite unusual in the modern rock world. He also has the longest hair in the world!
I said in the EP review that there is nothing much totally new in the rock music world, and that remains true, however the Australian rock scene has generated a fairly small number of high-quality melodic hard rock albums – Roxus, BB Steal, Ragdoll, Electric Mary and Dellacoma all spring to mind, along with Stevie’s other band The Radio Sun. Wicked Smile have added a new dimension to this group, with a heavier tone, without abandoning the melodic sound that runs through the whole record. This band deserves to get some much wider exposure in the UK, Europe and USA when we are all allowed out again!
Pic – LD Photography
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