By no means new to the scene, Jay Wud present their third album Transitions for all the world to hear. Boasting an international line-up, they’ve supported icons and have their eye on leaving their mark on the world with this latest offering.
Dark and brooding, it’s a well-crafted album with obvious care taken with the minutiae of it; the titular Wud has his hand firmly on the tiller. As grandiose as Alter Bridge and self-indulgent as Avenged Sevenfold, there’s nothing especially original on offer here. Musically, it’s been done before but not quite in this vein. That’s not to say it’s a bad album, far from it. From a technical standpoint, it’s as near-flawless as possible.
Alongside that, musically, it’s good; Wud has a good set of musicians complementing his own snarling riffs. Most notably, this comes in the form of drummer Joe Rickard. Hitting the skins with force and venom, he’s not backwards in coming forwards. And when he is taking a backseat, he’s sorely missed with tracks like “Evil in Me” and “Shine Your Light” being just a couple of his highlights.
Elsewhere, “Juggernaut” acts as a misnomer. It’s one of the album’s tamest moments, belying its name. Normally you’d expect a song running at full speed, much like the Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes song of the same name. However, on the other side of that coin is “Melancholia” which does what it says on the tin. One of the standout tracks of the album, right from the outset, it’s mired in that feeling, haunting the song. You don’t so much as hear the song but empathise with it.
Vocally, Wud has a voice not altogether unique but when coupled with the music, it helps to create something which separates the band from their contemporaries. Much like M. Shadows or Fozzy’s Chris Jericho, there’s a rasp and snarl. Combine that with music you’d swear blind was on AB III or even Blackbird’s more sombre moments and you’ve got the band’s core sound right there.
Then there’s the band’s two instrumental tracks, evenly spaced in the running order. “Deception” – with a gloriously filthy intro akin to The Hyena Kill before a metal angle is brought into play – has been built to have vocals laid on top and you spend much of the track waiting for said vocals to kick in. Much better with instrumentals if you opt for a finish point further down the road rather than walking around in circles. More progressive “I’ll Tell You” channels Mark Tremonti harkening back to riffs and solos which could have come straight from Alter Bridge’s earlier material. Certainly, it’s the stronger of the two tracks and with a more forward direction in mind, has more weight and substance to it.
Transitions is a portrait of a band running at its full capability. Assured and well-earned swagger in spades, Jay Wud has crafted an excellent album without being overbearing to create something of an homage to his influences whilst trying to forge an identity of its own.
Transitions is out now