"Wicked Wisdom" (Suburban Noize; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Film star Jada Pinkett Smith in a metal band? Doesn't seem to fit, does it?

Well, throw your pre-conceived notions out the window because Wicked Wisdom's self-titled debut, with Jada on lead vocals (as Jada Koren), is a surprisingly entertaining and pleasantly devastating metal CD.

Brutal, almost hardcore riffs join crushing basslines and thunderous drums as Jada's voice, which ranges from nearly Amy Lee etherealness to Lamb of God growls, adds a decidedly exotic sound to the proceedings. It's a unique, powerful sound all its own and, if it doesn't grab you the first time through, it will quickly hook you on subsequent listenings.

The CD smartly begins with the driving and accessible "Yesterday Don't Mean," which - although the lyrics are annoyingly repetitive - clearly tells you where the band's coming from and where they're going to go. The next track, "Something Inside Me" is another story entirely, featuring another crushing riff and an interesting vocal performance by Jada that's part spoken word, part sweetly sung chorus and part metal roar. And so it goes, from "One" and its jackhammer rhythms to the haunting background piano of the women-empowering "Set Me Free" to the FM radio ready "Reckoning."

Throughout, the band is top notch. This is not just some star vanity project but instead a real rock'n'roll band with talent and energy. In other words, the other band members are just as important as Jada here and vice versa. The music on "Wicked Wisdom" is the type of music that would be even better live and, judging from this recording, the band is ready to deliver. 

It'll be interesting to see what happens with Wicked Wisdom considering the fame of their lead vocalist. The good news is that the band rocks good and hard, whether the lead vocalist is famous or not.

Wicked Wisdom: Jada Pinkett Smith (aka Jada Koren) - lead vocals; Pocket Honore - guitar/vocals; Rio - bass/vocals; Phillip "Fish" Fisher - drums; Cameron "Wirm" Graves - guitar/keyboard/vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.wickedwisdom.net

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 27 May 2024 14:00:24 -0400.