CD Review: “Wizard Bloody Wizard” by Electric Wizard

Electric Wizard keep the doom wheel rolling on its ninth record Wizard Bloody Wizard. Six songs of bluesy sludge wrapped in psychedelia, the occult and melancholy. The record’s initial single “See You In Hell” is a primordial blues stomp akin to Black Sabbath. Front man Jus Osborn’s signature dissonant vocals wail through like a drunken mage while bassist Clayton Burgess keeps the bottom end depressingly groovy. “Necromania” is heavy psychedelia with its fuzzy guitar effects and light drumming. The song’s haunting lyrical content bizarrely fits the musical mood as though we are witnessing a satanic ritual in London circa 1969. The intro on “Wicked Caresses” perfectly creates the haunting mood on this track with pounding drums and minor guitar chords. This track moves and grooves thanks largely to Simon Poole’s drumming. Album closer “Mourning Of The Magicians” is the album’s magnum opus. An 11 minute elegy with a driving bass line that conjures a picture of people marching in a funeral procession. Jus’s despondent vocals capture the downcast aura on this track. It is beautiful in its sadness and relishes in its finality, especially with the line “here’s the darkness/ that you always wanted.”

Many point to Electric Wizard’s 2000 release Dopethrone as the band’s finest work and it is hard to disagree. However, Wizard Bloody Wizard shows the band is still capable of producing ear deafening doom metal 24 years since its formation. There is a looming darkness on his record even during its light moments which comes through in the muddled fuzz and feedback. Yes, the production is muddy, but not amateur or poor. It harkens to the production of Sixties and Seventies hard rock and metal records, only with a modern polish. The major weakness is the tinny sound of the guitar leads. There is some great lead guitar work on Wizard, unfortunately it is sometimes drowned out by the rhythm guitar and bass.

Wizard Bloody Wizard gets its point across in six songs which is Electric Wizard do sludge metal like no one else. Sure, this record is not up to par with the band’s earlier releases but that means little in the long run. The band’s heaviness has not dulled and the epic “Mourning Of The Magicians” is one of the band’s best songs. Pick this record up if you love the band or need some doom to crush your ear drums.

Check out the band’s website here: http://www.electricfuckinwizard.com/

CD Review: “Love From With The Dead” by With The Dead

The ear piercing, distortion on “Isolation” opens up the second slab of doom released by With The Dead. The lumbering riffs and plodding drums meander like a blind giant in a forest. It is a fitting way to kick things off on Love From With The Dead. “Egyptian Tomb” is notable for its spacey Phrygian chord progression and rolling bass lines. The eerie spoken word is underscored by spider like chord picking and subdued tribal drums before guitarist Tim Bagshaw unleashes a bluesy lead. “Cocaine Phantoms” is as spectral as the title expresses with an ethereal guitar line and Lee Dorrian’s raspy vocals grating over a doom laden riffs. It is primal metal that discards technique in favor of sheer mood and heaviness. “Watching The Ward Go By” has a running time of over 10 minutes, and is the second longest song on the record. The ominous guitar strumming and heart pumping beat conveys a secluded, maddening atmosphere setting the tone for the song’s duration. The droning, forceful riffs during the second half on this track only heighten the hopeless feeling of this song. There is a strong Type O Negative feel on “Anemia” with its grandiose opening riff which contrasts with the slow tempo. The 17 minute long “CV1” is an epic funeral dirge that appropriately concludes this album. A sullen, downcast composition that is relentless and unapologetic.

With The Dead’s second album is commendable for its cohesiveness and go for the gut attitude. Doom metal is about feeling, a depressive feeling that offers a strange sense of consolation. The members of this band know this as they have played in such luminary bands as Cathedral and Electric Wizard. Love From With The Dead is primal, yet complex as the despondent mood on this record persists for 65 minutes. All three instruments are highlighted and the result is a deafening experience.

Love From With The Dead is a labor of love. The seven songs on this album are prime doom metal that should satisfy fans of the band member’s previous groups. The line-up change with new members Leo Smee (bass) and Alex Smith (drums) gives the music a fresh kick and hopefully this line-up remains for future albums. Let the power of the riff compel you.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/withthedead/