on 1 April 2010
Wizard in Black was the first Electric Wizard song I ever heard. In fact, it was the first doom metal song I ever heard, and it mezmerised me, to this day it is probably my favourite track by the band (though they have a number of great songs). After hearing this I was desperate to hear more, and luckily I managed to borrow the Come My Fanatics/Electric Wizard double album from my local library. However, I wanted to review this album alone as I felt the other review had done it an injustice, and because I don't like their debut as much.
From the off this is slow, opressive, repetitive doom. It is also the most psychadelic sort of doom I've heard to this day, almost hypnotic in some cases to me. Standout tracks in my opinion are Return Trip, Wizard In Black and Doom-Mantia. I also think the riffs on Solitarian 13 are really good. In all honesty I haven't heard tracks 7 or 8, but I felt that this album deserved a 5 star rating nonetheless. At first I wasn't too keen on Ivixor B/Phase Inducer but even this lengthy, obscure instrumental has grown on me lately. Jus' vocal performance is fantastic, it's not shouty, a bit abrasive and not totally in key sometimes, but it really suits the music. Often the vocals are low in the mix, adding to the drone of the music as a whole. The instruments all hold their own, guitar leads are often a bit faster than the rhythm and therefore there is still musicianship to appreciate whilst the music is on the most part very slow. The drums are more inventive than I imagine many bands of this speed manage to produce, and the bass is prominent enough in the mix to create the sense of enormity and foreboding nature of doom. The bass also gets some leads whilst the guitar focuses on the rhythm, which adds to the variety. Also I feel that the use of samples deserve a mention, as they are fantastic. The one a couple of minutes into Return Trip fits perfectly with the music, and their ethos, and the one that starts Wizard In Black is awesome.
All in all I rate this as their best album, along with Dopethrone. In my opinion they're on level pegging, Dopethrone being slightly more opressive perhaps, but both have some great tunes. Buy Come My Fanatics or Dopethrone for an introduction to the Wizard at their best.
on 31 March 2009
Electric Wizard return with the follow up to their shapeless, shiftless and tiresome self-titled debut entitled `Come My Fanatics...'. The three man machine of Electric Wizard have seemingly gone away and worked on their weaknesses, whilst underlining their strengths. `Come My Fanatics...', in some ways, is a continuation of the first full-length, but is so much more at the same time. Jus Oborn returns on guitar and vocal duty, Tim Bagshaw takes up bass and Mark Greening makes it his personal mission to instil a more powerful epicentre to the soundscapes on drums. To me, the wisest move this band made was the introduction of a second guitarist, Liz Buckingham. Her appearance on the scene really transformed Electric Wizard and having the ability of being able to play one guitarist off another was a trait that meant the soundscapes of the British band became more powerful and showcased their prowess in a much more heightened fashion. In fact, I would say that both `We Live' and `Witchcult Today' are my two favourite Electric Wizard records and both feature her on the guitar. Guitarists playing off one another is an amazing characteristic to have to your music if the performances are top drawer.
I must admit, the opening track, `Return Trip' didn't fill me with confidence. There seemed, to me, to be a message in the title itself. A return to old ways. I found the song to be dull. Whilst Jus was, again might I add, the main redeeming feature, the song wasn't carried over well. Whilst the bass had more influence upon the soundscapes of Electric Wizard, it still wasn't inspiring enough to make much of a difference to my overall opinion of the song. Once again, the sound seemed lazy, even for a doom/stoner crossover band, which is saying something. However, as the record progresses, so do Electric Wizard. `Black Wizard' is a fine example of how the performance, on the whole, begins to take off and really shape the sound that the band would begin to rely on more and more as their careers, on the whole, progressed themselves. The vocals really begin to take shape and hold of the music. Jus has a wonderful voice in terms of his ability to really control the emotions of the audience and mould the texture of the music. For example, his vocals on `Black Wizard' really shine through. He gives the song an extra emotional outlet and pours the seeping emotions on to the audience who can do nothing but lap them up.
The guitars begin to lead more and more too. The soundscapes are better when the guitar takes hold of them and dictates what they do. That's how it should be. Doom is often very reliant on heavy riffs and thick production to heighten the appeal of the lyrical themes that are, supposedly, what the band is all about and Electric Wizard seem to be noticing this. The guitars lay down a heavy set of riffs and the bass backs it up, creating what would become the infamous wall of noise that people associate with Electric Wizard. The unbreakable sounds of those guitars are like bullet proof glass to bullets. The bass imposes itself more on this release, which I liked. More so often than not, the bass was swallowed whole by the guitars on the previous effort. It seemed, instrumentally, the band didn't give themselves room to breath and really manipulate the space around them. However, although `Come My Fanatics...' hasn't reached the standard of latter records, it is beginning to showcase the British bands ability to be able to create awesome ambience and out-of-this-world sounds. 'Ivixor B / Phase Inducer' was the one real disappointment, aside from the opening track. Although it started off in a very odd, yet intriguing manner, it slowly turned out to be the token instrumental track, and a poor one at that.
I, for once, prefer the crushing nature of Electric Wizard. Whilst the self-titled release seemed lazy, this has put up more of a fight from critics and the like. Songs like `Doom - Mantia' seem to suggest the song does what it sounds like. Dementia is defined as, "severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, due to the loss of or damage to neurons in the brain." To me, this aptly describes what the vast majority of Electric Wizard's music does to it's audience. Cripples them with monotonous riffs, thick and rigid bass and punchy percussion which makes it's individual audience members feel like a lumbering boxer being punched in the head by severe blows. Instead of fists, double bass is what is hitting us in the face but we enjoy it. Whilst `Come My Fanatics...' isn't the pinnacle of this bands reign, it is a vast improvement on the debut. Well worth checking out if you like your doom heavy and your stoner thick.