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Monday, March 22, 2010



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High-school buddies Ray Luokka and Brian Noonan had all but given up on becoming rock stars. But years later, in little ol’ Jackson, Wis., the guitarist and drummer found a vocalist with wide range and a serious bassist, and decided to give it one more shot. Wise move.

Rise is a progressive-metal tour de force that comes along at the right time, as a new generation of headbangers raised on Dream Theater, Symphony X, Kamelot, Tad Morose and Seven Witches seeks out similar bands. This is WiszdomStone’s first full-length album, and despite slightly muddied production and a few by-the-numbers duds, rousing songs like “Unforgiven,” “Take This Cup” and “The Sky Is Falling” should convince a label such as Nightmare Records or Nuclear Blast to reissue this independent release to a wider audience. What’s more, guest appearances by former Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone and Kamelot drummer Casey Grillo already give WiszdomStone street cred.