Wicked Smile – Wait For The Night (Cargo Records)

Wait For The Night? No chance!

We can’t wait any longer for this hotly anticipated riff-fuelled antidote to dark autumn nights.

Wicked Smile is the feisty face of NWOBHM-styled Aussie aggression.

It’s a glorious expression of old school authenticity mixed with pin-sharp production.

And it’s yet another example of founder member Stevie Janevski’s mind-boggling fretboard majesty.

Better known to Rushonrock readers as The Radio Sun’s grinning guitar hero, the supreme six-stringer is on fire as Melbourne’s answer to Dave Murray.

In fact, Wait For The Night proves there’s no end to Janevski’s talents as he rips through a steepling set of steely metal.

Wicked Smile bare their teeth with a flurry of fist-pumping anthems retrospectively fashioned for Monsters Of Rock festivals through the ages.

Wait For The Night is assured, assertive and unapologetically ass-kicking. 

Trad metal meets hard rock head on as a carefully crafted album crosses genres and ticks a bundle of head-banging boxes.

From Saxon to Skid Row and Dio-era Sabbath to classic Dokken, this is a band that respects its roots and strives to grow.

Still not convinced by Maiden’s Senjutsu? This is Smiles better.

Danny Boy’s the main man

Frontman Danny Cacati was born to blast out full-blooded metal without fear of reprisal.

And as the adrenaline-fuelled foil for fret burner Janevski he’s the perfect pick.

Take the colossal Killer At Large.

It’s like Bruce Dickinson fronting Mindcrime-era Queensrÿche with A7X at the mixing desk.

Cacati gives the Helloween-esque Last Goodbye a healthy dose of heartfelt passion.

And he’s at it again as Sign Of Times establishes Wicked Smile as a band of its time.

Imagine Inglorious’s Nathan James hooking up with George Lynch to reinvent the very best of the early 90s hard rock scene: it’s that good.

But wait for it. Wait For The Night isn’t all wanton escapism and wild excess.

Civil unrest, bullying and mental health are up for debate on a record that reveals moments of surprising depth.

Paul Laine took time out from Defiants duties to produce a record pitched as the thinking man’s metal.

And as one of Janevski’s most trusted wingmen, the Danger Danger alumnus captures five hard rocking heroes at their ambitious best.

Love’s Got A Hold On You is a stunning piece of work.

And check out Janevski’s Satch-styled solo on Stronger. Wow.

Wait For The Night’s been a long time coming.

But with any luck Wicked Smile will be the name on every metal fan’s lips come 2022.