Sound — 9
Wildlights are entering the rock scene with a big bang and a timeless self-titled album. Their origin can be traced to Wilmington, North Carolina, which is a particularly burgeoning home of hard and rocking American music. At this event horizon, the heavily creative forces of ASG frontman Jason Shi and drummer Johnny Collins from Thunderlip! collided and gave birth to a direct, honest sound that draws equally from driving, melodic, Californian spawned desert rock roots as well as the heavy, blues-based riffing of the South. The duo paid strong attention to details right from the start and therefore chose to collaborate with renowned sound engineer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Porno for Pyros) on the production of "Wildlights," which gave this rock gem a sparkling classic cut. The stunning artwork of this debut album has been created by the brilliant Brian Mercer, whose work for Lamb Of God, Eyehategod, and Black Tusk to name but a few has given the artist an excellent reputation. Wildlights deliver a soundtrack to life that resonates with hope. "Wildlights" contains twelve masterfully crafted rock songs and no fillers. Lean back, close your eyes, listen well, and judge for yourself.
Lyrics — 8
Based on a few of the songs that I have heard, without any interviews or easy to find information on the inspiration used. The lyrics sound a little like a lost teenager finding themself. That is probably an unfair comment as it makes it sound childish or cheesy like some pop rock but honestly listen for yourself and you'll find it really isn't. It works, like really well.
(P.S. Being a guitar player and not being able to write songs nor sing myself. Personally, I feel I may have missed the point of the lyrics completely but this is just my interpretation.)
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to the frontman's previous work in ASG (who are a band that I love dearly) I feel that this is the best album to kick things off and I really really hope there will be a second. Severely underrated, under-appreciated and nearly unheard of. Taking the song "Climb in the Throne" as the first song off the album I had heard before I came obsessed with listening on repeat for the first week. The beginning is a real scene setter, simple and moody. Then the tone of the guitar and his vocals complete the canvas which is the wall of sound including an incredible opening riff with some beautiful backing notes to really compliment the tune the rest of the way through the song.
With that said, the rest of the album is not to be taken lightly as the "Climb the Throne" song is just a favorite of mine, "Lions" / "Anchors" and "pictures" are all just as interesting with all the well placed time changes and held notes that go on just long enough to inspire anyone to pick up the axe besides them and create a real face melter. I don't go to live shows often but I can imagine these guys would do a damn good job if ASG is anything to go by.
I can't say there is anything to really hate about the album. Songs are well placed. Well written. Musically pleasing. Inspiring. Guitar tones are excellent and makes a good match for the singer. Drums aren't over powering, too technical just takes you for a good ride. The album as a whole is put together really well. All the songs flow from one to the next and kept me wanting more. Even so the "Wildlights" album has only been out a year and I am hungry for more. You can find the album playlist on the band's YouTube page.