Back in 2004, metal was not as healthy as it is today. Nu metal was in decline and a lot of older fans never liked it to start with. Perhaps that’s why David ‘Rock’ Feinstein decided the time was right to release an album of straight up 80s influenced metal.
David is a cousin of Ronnie James Dio and was with him in Elf, playing guitar. From there he went and worked in the wilderness as a wildlife ranger for a while before forming a band called David Feinstein’s Thunder with a gentleman by the name of Joey Demaio. They had creative differences, leading to the formation of Manowar. From here he was a founding member of The Rods.
From there he faded into view, this album essentially landing out of the blue. Vocals on this album come from John West, best known as the singer for Royal Hunt. The vocals are good, nothing close to Dio in strength, but in the same vein for sure. This is an album that knows it’s chasing a sound that had been out of vogue for at least a decade.
The music on this CD is straight up power metal, lots of heavy riffs that sound like a cross between ‘Heaven and Hell’ era Black Sabbath, and early Manowar. ‘Third Wish‘, the title track, showcases the bluesier side of Feinstein’s playing on a slower power ballad. It’s definitely a stronger track on the CD and the track that sounds most like an outtake on the Holy Diver album.
A lot of the songs on this CD have a galloping rhythm that invokes both Dio and Iron Maiden. The songs are far from repetitive though, this is definitely a strong album with variety between the songs. ‘Masquerade’ starts sounding very much like ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’. ‘Far Beyond’ starts off sounding like someone trying to learn Holy Diver. ‘Poison Ivy’ has a riff that’s driving this reviewer crazy, it’s clearly appeared on another well known song, but it’s hard to remember which one. The whole album is a bit like that, a pastiche of ideas you’ve heard before, but still re-crafted into an album that stands in it’s own right. This was very obviously an album aimed at people who were happier with the sound of metal past than metal future. Now, it’s definitely an album for fans of a more retro style of metal.
The final track, ‘Inferno’, is an instrumental that strongly features the keyboard player, Bob Twining, as well as giving a solo spot to the bass player, Jeff Howell. Given that these guys were basically unknown, it’s a generous move by Feinstein, and one that makes the track stronger and finishes the album on a high note.
The artwork is a bit unfortunate. The front cover is a painting of an Aladdin’s lamp and the genie appears to be some sort of demon. It brings to mind the artwork for ‘Jump in the Fire’ by Metallica, there’s a monster and it just doesn’t look that great. On the back is a hand, presumably that of Feinstein, doing the ‘Shocker’, which he also does inside. Perhaps he knew his cousin invented the ‘horns’ and thought he could come up with his own hand sign, but it was confusing in 2004 and just looks silly now.
The album was released by Magic Circle Music (which is Joey Demaio), through SPV. Clearly those relationships have held through the years. That is not surprising because every aspect of this music leaves you feeling that David Feinstein is a guy who values traditions and the way things used to be. If you’re looking for something bold and new, this is not the CD for you. If you’re a fan of the style of metal that existed in the early 80s before hair metal came along, this album may well be as exciting to you today as it was to this reviewer in 2004.