• Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

    Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard
    Released by: Spinefarm Records
    Released on: November 17th, 2017.
    Year: 2017
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    The latest LP from the UK’s Electric Wizard, an all-analogue recording produced by guitar player/vocalist Jus Oborn and guitar player Liz Buckingham in their own Satyr IX Recording Studio, is 2017’s Wizard Bloody Wizard. The Black Sabbath throwbacks on this one are as obvious as they’ve ever been with the band, but the six track that make up the record do see the band once again putting their own spin on what is fairly traditional doom/stoner rock. With Simon Poole behind the drum kit and Clayton Burgess on bass, both fairly new recruits as they didn’t play on the band’s last album Time To Die, Electric Wizard sounds tighter and heavier than ever.

    See You In Hell starts things off right. At just under seven minutes in length, this one just hits you in the gut right from the get go with a riff made of solid titanium. Oborn’s vocals slide into the mix, waxing nostalgic about tortured screams, how this dying world is gasping its last breath, and how we’re turning off our minds. The drumming here adds to the ominous vibe that we immediately catch, with Burgess’ bass work keeping things nice and dirty sounding. It builds to a genuinely wicked crescendo, working a psychedelic tone into mix really effectively.

    From there, things get a bit quicker and less doomy but no less heavy with Necromania. This is a six minute work of distorted sickness, a track that covers a woman’s love for the dead (the title kind of gives that away, right), working black lips and leather into the mix for good measure – “death her pleasure.” Inspired by the Ed Wood porno of the same name? Probably not, but maybe. At any rate, this one is pretty crushing, yet somehow one of the catchier songs on the record.

    Hear The Sirens Scream closes in on the nine minute mark, so it’s a lengthy one. Like the album opener it’s anchored by an ultra-heavy riff that is basically the backbone of the entire track. Again, it’s as heavy as you’d expect it to be, but it’s also pretty tight. The drums a get a little wild here and there but it works, it keeps things feeling alive. Oborn’s vocals are on point, going on about Lucifer riding blackened steeds and, of course, screaming sirens. You could argue that the track is repetitive – you wouldn’t be wrong – but it’s well done and the guitar work is impressive if, again, repetitive in that bluesy sort of way that a lot of their work is.

    The Reaper is the shortest track on the album at just over three minutes in length. It starts off with some eerie organ sounds, then the guitars, bass and drums slowly but surely start to bury it in the mix as Osbon’s vocals take things to a weird place. This track is hallucinogenic, it swirls, it’s weird and, for better or worse, it’s the most unique song on the album even if it is the least traditionally heavy of the six.

    Wicked Caresses closes in on the seven minute mark and once again takes us back to worship at the Church Of Black Sabbath. Great drumming on this one, nice solid bass work, Oborn’s vocals are more inspired and committed here. Lyrically we’re again in horror movie territory, which is fine, the band is comfortable there and it suits their style and their sound, but it was more interesting to hear the band go against tradition on The Reaper.

    The record closes out with the epic eleven minute finale that is Mourning Of The Magicians. It’s a slow, trudge slab of doom, a funeral dirge if you will. At moments it seems like this one is going to break out and pick up the pace but it doesn’t, instead it stays at the slower tempo, building nicely to an ominous crescendo, Oborn’s repetitive ‘I’ll see you in Hell… I’ll see you in Hell’ closing the track and the album out rather appropriately.

    It seems that anytime a new Electric Wizard album comes out a certain segment complains that it doesn’t sound like Dopethrone. And to be honest, this album doesn’t sound like Dopethrone. So if you’re looking for a rehash of that first record, put that out of your mind. This is, however, a very solid record. The band has a formula that they stick to here, experimenting occasionally and veering out now and then, and they break little new ground – but at this point in the game Electric Wizard do what they do very well. Maybe some dirtier production might have given this a bit more character and some more creativity and less riff-reliance would have helped it to stand out, but it’s hard to complain too much when it’s done as well as it’s done on Wizard Bloody Wizard.