Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Electric Wizard - Wizard Bloody Wizard (2017)

So there's this tiny little band that you've probably never heard of before called Electric Wizard. They've recently released their 9th studio album "Wizard Bloody Wizard" and it seems like everyone and their brother has something to say about it... Including me! I guess the first thing to address are the scores of people frothing at the mouth screaming that this album sucks - it doesn't. This is solid stoner doom wallowing in the darkness with a little retro 70s influence (Sabbath stuff specifically). It has a much cleaner sound than any of their albums before, reining in their all-consuming reverberation for a more localized fuzz. Combine that with the direction of the second track "Necromania" or the fourth "The Reaper" and you'll realize that this album puts more focus on being occult rather than heavy. Does that make it bad? Not at all, there's plenty of music I love in that same niche. So there's a shift, but it's still Electric Wizard at its core with Jus Oborn's deadpan wails, far wandering guitar leads, and evil blues influence scattered throughout. If the fifth track "Wicked Caresses" was mixed and mastered differently it could fit in with the material on any of their albums from the last decade. If you're paying attention there's a ton of kick ass moments on the bass here - almost every song has something noteworthy. So what's with the hate? Well, it FEELS like a late career album. Like a lot of successful bands that have been around for a while (I think Motörhead and the Ramones also hit this point eventually), it sounds like Electric Wizard is comfortable with their legacy of amazing, genre-defining material and they aren't pushing themselves to top it. As a result Wizard Bloody Wizard is admittedly weak compared to the rest of their catalog, but it's a totally enjoyable album when taken on its own. Just listen to it without expectations of a new masterpiece and you're probably going to dig it. -Brandon


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