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Wyred - Image (Reissue)

Image (Reissue)
by Mark Machlay at 04 February 2020, 4:24 AM

25 years ago, media was not as widely or heavily distributed as it was today. WYRED released their only full-length record, “Image”, in 1995 with 1000 copies and those were devoured by the metal starved masses, looking for whatever new and interesting music they could find. It disappeared so quickly not because of its rarity but because it was good. The Kansas City, Missouri band actually began as CHERRY WENCH in 1989 by guitarist Ron Bales and vocalist Brad Kinne. They got together after Ron left the thrash band MORTAL REIGN and along with Brad’s brother, Brian Kinne on bass and Jason Byrd on drums, the new band recorded a 4-song demo in 1990.

After two years, Ron Bales left them to form the group that would be WYRED in 1992. While the rest of CHERRY WENCH would carry on with a replacement guitarist, they would disband only a year later. Ron Bales along with bassist Andy Klassen and drummer Jason Boyd would start recording their full-length album between 1992 and 1994, eventually being released in 1995 in a private edition of 1000 copies. Both CHERRY WENCH’s demo and Wyred’s “Image”, are included on this re-issue as well as two demo tracks from 1992 (“Watch, Look & Listen”) and 1996 (“Interference”) which completes WYRED’S back catalog.

As for the music itself, the band tries to seamlessly blend power, melodic and prog metal seamlessly.  For the most part, the band do a decent job at this, though the more power and proggy songs tend to be on the second half of “Image”, namely “Captured in Time” and “Nothing Lasts”, which opens and closes with the sound effect of a door opening and closing but also features some really great guitar work by Ron Bales in both the main verse riff and unflashy but beautiful melodic guitar solos. This is a common theme throughout the album in that the guitar always serves the music and is never overly technical for the song. But in the solo on the 1992 demo “Watch, Look & Listen”, the tapping style Eddie Van Halen leads in “Lonely Lover”, and the solo in “Get it Right”, it’s clear that he can play fast, slow or in between depending on the style of the song.

The vocals are clearly reminiscent of RUSH’s Geddy Lee in both vocalists but the influence can certainly be heard more in Don Crosby on the full-length than on the CHERRY WENCH demo with Brad Kinne. He tends to use a lot more vibrato though, especially on “Close to the Edge” when singing the title it seems as if you may topple right “over the edge” of a cliff from gettting the nervous jitters.  But that can be the only gripe because he clearly has range and versatility. He seems to be enjoying himself throughout as on the track “Looking for Someday” when he offers to the listener “Let’s go!” I want to go on the journey with him!

The production sounds very 80’s and a bit dated even with a re-master but if you’re looking for that early QUEENSRYCHE and DREAM THEATER production it fits perfectly alongside any of their records from the late 80s or early 90s. I heard many intros that were similar in sound to OZZY OSBOURNE and LITA FORD’s “Close My Eyes Forever”. Both the CHERRY WENCH demo track “Endless Sorrow” and Wyred’s “Get it Right” sound vaguely similar in this way, possibly a similar arrangement brought back into their full-length debut. Also many questionable production choices such as on the track “Love Flies Away” in which the music stops dead many times, with the effects with them.  This gives the listener the feeling that the track unintentionally cut out. What’s strange is, the track itself does not end this way but instead lets the guitar delay/reverb continue on into the void at the end.

What can be said is this release is very memorable and full of hooks that you’ll find yourself remembering long after listening. The guitar work is always tasteful and never overly flashy and vocal lines are catchy and full of earworms. It is unfortunate the world did not see more of WYRED’s musical prowess.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Love Flies Away
2. Rise Up
3. Heart's Desire
4. Close To The Edge
5. Get It Right
6. Only A Lifetime
7. Nothing Lasts
8. Captured In Time
9. Not What I Want
10. Lonely Lover
11. Looking For Someday
12. Between The Lines
13. Watch, Look & Listen
14. Interference
15. See The Light
16. Moment Too Shy
17. The Rook
18. Endless Sorrow
Don Crosby - Vocals
Ron Bales - Guitars
Andy Klassen - Bass
Jason Boyd - Drums
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records


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