Brooklyn’s Bad Wizard continues to carry the rock revival torch with their fourth album Sky High. Taking their name from a drunken friend’s slurred request for Budweiser, Bad Wizard are in no danger of taking themselves too seriously. They’re here to get drunk, rock hard, and party all night. They may not bring much new to the genre, but they’ve basked in the energy of enough Kiss and Led Zeppelin albums to deliver a solid record.Clocking in at just over a half hour, Sky High is the equivalent of rock’n’roll whiplash. The opening fist-pounding anthem “Sky High” transitions in the blink of an eye into “He’s a Rat,” with guitarists Tina Gorin and Eddie Lynch showing some Thin Lizzy-soaked riffs. Vocalist Curtis Brown uses flanger and delay loop effects on his voice in the powerhouse track “Agent,” featuring a guitar lick that bores through the skull only to let the tight bass and drum thump create seismic disturbances of the brain. “Jealous Man” sounds as if penned by Paul Stanley himself, with a Destroyer vibe in the guitar riff and vocal pattern.
The energy of the first four tracks comes to a dead halt on “Black Navigator.” Every rock band needs a ballad to show their diversity, but sadly this acoustic-driven slow-paced rocker with its 90s alt-rock overtones is no “Beth.” Thankfully, “13x Around the World” kicks the second half of the album back into high gear, with John Sherman thundering on the drum kit while Gorin and Lynch wank away. “Strawberry” just straight rocks while “Slow Down” keeps the party alive, Van Halen style. The album closes with “Pass It On,” which breaks down into energetic hand drumming while Gorin and Lynch duel away with their weapons of choice. Sky High won’t reinvent rock, but it will throw another tire on the fire.