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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » White Widdow - 2011 Serenade
White Widdow - 2011 Serenade

ARTIST: White Widdow
ALBUM: Serenade
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Julez 'Mephisto' Millis - lead vocals * Enzo Almanzi - guitars, vocals * Trent Wilson - bass, vocals * Xavier 'Mephisto' Millis - keyboards, vocals * Jim Naish - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cry Wolf Cry Wolf * 02 Strangers In The Night * 03 Do You Remember * 04 Reckless Nights * 05 How Far I Run * 06 Serenade * 07 Show Your Cards * 08 Mistake * 09 Patiently * 10 Love Won't Wait



It's been a long time since we've had a decent band plying the melodic rock/metal path out of Australia, let alone an AOR one. To my mind, there are only two world class bands currently operating down under. One of them is Perth based Voyager, the other being Melbourne's pride and joy: White Widdow. The latter are the subject of today's review (the new Voyager CD review will follow soon..), and we're looking at their second album 'Serenade'. Many of us have heard their self titled debut from last year, it certainly came across favourably. Though I have to say, the improvement within the space of a year is astounding. 'Serenade' has been at the top of my playlist for weeks now, so I thought I'd better get around to reviewing the thing.

The Songs
As much as I liked last year's debut CD, 'Serenade' feels like it is in a different league, the songs here are all wickedly good, the arrangements are superior, and the material is pitched for the big leagues that much is obvious. Setting the bar as high as they did for 'Cry Wolf' might make it difficult for the tracks to follow, but credit to White Widdow, they maintain that high standard deep into the album. 'Cry Wolf' is a fantastic scene-setter, my words can't really do it justice. Much better for you to take a listen for yourself. And as for that guitar solo from Enzo, man that guy can play! Second track in, 'Strangers In The Night' continues the killer riffs and fills, and I'm a converted fan already. Those harmony vocals spilling out the lyrics 'heart to heart, side by side' are so good, kudos to the studio engineers for achieving such results. 'Do You Remember Me' is a bit subdued, a dose of Def Leppard or Wildstreet perhaps. Next up is my favourite track on the CD: 'Reckless Nights', with all the radio feedback on the dial to announce the song. It has Danger Danger written all over this one, but everything about it is killer. The harmony vocals are again a treat to hear.. it seems the more things change.. if I don't live my life.. reckless nights, rockin' to the radio.. livin' life too fast, never gonna let it go..' Big keyboard stabs welcomes in the bombast of 'How Far I Run', this one contains a simply magical chorus, which I could play over and over (actually I have!). White Widdow lay off the power for a few minutes, as we take in the AOR overkill of the title track 'Serenade', again keyboards and juicy vocal harmonies make it hard to pass up. In my previous review of this band's debut album, I mentioned fellow Victorian band De Arrow. 'Show Your Cards' is reminiscent of that band, even the sound/mix for this one is slightly different to the rest of the material on 'Serenade', like it came from a different session altogether. Enzo provides some big riffs for 'Mistake', but the song features a few moments of respite too, not the total overblown affair the band is capable of delivering on the turn of a coin. 'Patiently' could be a Harem Scarem or First Signal ballad, very Canadian sounding to my ears, and though good, it feels slightly out of place here. 'Love Won't Wait' is the album closer, and again features a huge and familiar chorus (where have I heard that one before?) though the song overall is slightly less than some of the classic tunes that gone before it.

In Summary
So there it is. 'Serenade' will surely rank right up there in most people's top 10 lists for 2011, and with the end of year coming up there are some strong contenders already in play, some of which have been recently released in the last few months or so. White Widdow will be appearing in two weeks time at Firefest 2011 on a bill which is looking mighty impressive. So for those of you going to Nottingham, get your air keyboards at the ready and play along with ivory-master Xavier Millis. As for 'Reckless Nights'.. what a song. Check these boys out.

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#1 | gdazegod on October 11 2011 12:42:19
YouTube Video:
#2 | swazi on October 11 2011 15:33:15
I saw them playing live at the Heat-Festival about 2 weeks ago and it was a pretty good show. They certainly were received very well over here and they will rock Nottingham!
#3 | jeffrey343 on December 22 2011 01:49:10
This will certainly end up near the top of my list for 2011. I read a review somewhere that mentioned that Millis's vocals sound like Carl Dixon from Coney Hatch. I can hear that, although the musical style is a bit different. This is one of those albums I can play twice in a row and still enjoy, as well as one I can play when I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for. Very immediate too, which is important for me as I try to get familiar with several new albums in a short period of time.
#4 | george_the_jack on December 22 2011 02:06:27
Spot on Jeff.I would add that 'Serenade'is a step forward for the band, especially production-wise, if someone compares it with its predecessor. It is a common sense, White Widdow has a lot to offer to the future of this genre!
#5 | jeffrey343 on December 22 2011 05:15:47
I got the first one after I got this one, and I expected it to be a bigger step down than it turned out to be, which I guess makes this one less of a step up than I think some folks are saying. But this one is better produced, and I can tell the band has matured somewhat. I think Enzo was a bit too "notey" on some of the solos on the debut, playing lots of notes just because he could. His solos are more cohesive here. I'll have to give the first one another spin and comment on it, but it definitely cracked my top ten for last year.
#6 | gdazegod on February 12 2012 16:31:04
Massive songs.. though live, they maybe a different proposition.. as mentioned by Richie Gower..
#7 | sabace on March 10 2012 12:59:38
I really enjoyed listening to this and its not surprising as it has elements of every great aor band since the 70s . If the intention was to record a tribute to all these great bands ( I heard
survivor def leppard journey etc) then it works superbly . I did'nt hear any unique elements to WHITE WIDDOW this is something they have to do to be become a great band in their own right a, minor gripe, but there you go .
#8 | gdazegod on March 19 2012 11:22:20
YouTube Video:
#9 | jeffduran on September 28 2014 05:37:08
Late on hearing this amazing release. Very impressive.
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