THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...WISHING WELL Do Or Die (Inverse Records)
Metal’s favourite Seventies-loving Finns are back with another album of driving hard rock, cut from the same cloth that dressed bands like Rainbow and Uriah Heep and beautifully crafted into a suit of many colours. Just three albums in, the band have created a recognisable sound for themselves, instantly distinguishable in songs like the anthemic ‘Sermon On The Mount’ or the hard-nosed opener (and title track) with its Purplesque solo.
Much of the band’s identity springs from the interplay between guitarist Anssi Korkiakoski (whose solo in ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ is worth the price of the album alone) and organist Arto Teppo, and the earthy vocals of Chilean frontman Rafael Castillo. It helps that ‘Do Or Die’ sounds analogue and wholly organic, created the good old-fashioned way rather than by bouncing around sound files: the album is permeated with the sweat of the rehearsal room and the passion of late nights spent polishing songs until they sparkle. It also helps that the band have a settled line-up now – along with bassist Rick Becker and drummer Juha Kivikanto this is the line-up that recorded 2018’s ‘Rat Race’, and ‘Do Or Die’ proves itself to be a natural progression.
This is an album of ten prime cuts, all meat with no bone or gristle. There are no weak links, and the band’s versatility is demonstrated as the manic ‘Made Of Metal’ sits quite comfortably alongside the flute-accompanied lullaby ‘Cosmic Ocean’. The biography reckons that this time round the band are “more metal than hard rock” but, let’s be honest, does it make a difference? Since opening their account with ‘Chasing Rainbows’ in 2016 Wishing Well have shown themselves to be a band to watch, writing and delivering exceptionally exciting material, and it would only be just desserts for them to be able break out of their homeland and spread their wings further afield.
© John Tucker March 2020