Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

Doom has always had a sense of timelessness about it, coming seeped in nostalgia almost by definition but being so singularly unconcerned with anything but its own feculent purple haze that it can simply exist in whatever time period you happen to be in, like Bill and Ted. Even when flirting with the contemporary, this means that when done poorly, it shows like a bloodstain on a swan, but when done well, it can be utterly spellbinding. Electric Wizard very definitely fall in the latter camp, and new album Wizard Bloody Wizard has that magical feeling that it could genuinely have been written any time between 1970 and now. Slow and considered but wiry and immediate, almost single-note riffs build and bulk like a child creating a tesseract out of LEGO, with a suitably crackly production that allows the listener to hear every demonic scratch and static contact between pick and string. Though rooted in a deep meaty rumble, the bass has a tendency to swirl and skitter in the background like a vortex, dragging everything down with it to create a solid counterpoint to Jus Oborn’s high-pitched wails. It would be churlish to review Electric Wizard and not mention Black Sabbath, but while the delivery, pace, structure and riff formation owe an obvious debt to said band’s blueprint, it is the drums that bring them to mind the most here, with Simon Poole’s timpani-esque use of melody evoking Bill Ward at his creative best. Some may find it odd to discuss melody in relation to someone who thumps lumps for a living, but the descending syncopation in Hear the Sirens Scream alone should be enough to convince them otherwise. Is Wizard Bloody Wizard better than the band’s seminal Dopethrone? Probably not, but that’s a stupid question anyway since Wizard are a totally different band these days, in both personnel and approach, and the new album finds them very much living in their own skin rather than basting in someone else’s, or even their own, adding a droning, circular classic psych rock hypnotism to proceedings to make sure that the songs always wield their own character. Great doom should envelop your whole being and weigh heavy on your chest, like mistaking a baby hippo for a cat, and Wizard Bloody Wizard is undoubtedly “great doom”, albeit more palatable than ever before.

Electric Wizard

Categories: Album Reviews, Reviews

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