The Wheelblocks aren’t wasting time with a lot of ridiculous showboating in their Iron Maiden cover and debut single “Aces High” – right from the moment we press the play button on the song and its accompanying music video, we feel the intensity of their instrumental prowess in full-bodied stereo sound. Long before Chris Jericho of Fozzy and WWE fame starts to sing, Maiden fans will recognize the familiar chill-factor in the rhythm of the music, and moreover, the ominous vibe the melody creates with every passing moment. “Aces High” came out three and a half decades ago, but here, it sounds as modern and relevant as any of this supergroup’s primary bands would produce.
If you thought Phil Demmel and Nita Strauss were going to pass up the opportunity to dazzle everyone in the world with their incredible six-string skillsets in this cover track, you’d better think again. While Jericho’s voice is the linchpin holding everything in the mix together, Demmel and Strauss are doing most of the heavy lifting in making the song feel like something its creators would be proud of. I can’t say for certain, but it would really surprise me if this single made it out of the door without getting some level of approval from Iron Maiden themselves – honestly, it’s just too sweet a performance for anything else to be true.
Though The Wheelblocks could be a fleeting project that only puts some cool music out through the next year or so, I think they show more than enough talent and chemistry together to justify making a full-length studio album for fans before 2020’s over. This is a good look for heavy metal right now, and more importantly, a year that has been feeling rather sterile and lifeless if you like rock and metal as much as I do.
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