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Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

Witchfinder / Spinefarm

Electric Wizard - Wizard Bloody WizardElectric Wizard like Black Sabbath a lot, as do all right-thinking people, though I very much doubt the Wizard would like to be thought of as “right-thinking”. Calling your album Wizard Bloody Wizard is possibly the most blatant act of Sabbath-worship in an album title since The Rollins Band released Vol 4.

Obviously, though, what with being Electric Wizard, they’re a lot darker than Sabbath, who by today’s standards aren’t actually that dark at all, often warning their listeners of the dangers of the occult rather than the Wizard’s gleeful celebration of all things narcotic and murderous. Indeed, it seems appropriate to be writing this on the day Charles Manson died.

They have also always been a lot sludgier than Sabbath, eschewing Tony Iommi‘s crisp riffs for a maelstrom of tortured fretboards and drowning frontman Jus Oborn under waves and waves of reverb. Until now, that is. Wizard Bloody Wizard sees Jus and the (Satanist biker) gang taking a more stripped-down approach to things — the riffs are clearer, and his voice is both cleaner and higher in the mix than on previous releases.

The music’s not bathed in distortion like, say, Dopethrone, and it doesn’t feel as slimy as, say, Witchcult Today. It’s odd at first, and then he starts talking about the dying world and switching off your mind (though notably there’s little about either relaxing or floating downstream), and that bass overwhelms you and you’re sharpening the sacrifical bong again. I couldn’t possibly comment on what they may have sacrificed to get this sound, but it’s clearly not heaviness.

This back-to-basics approach gives them a more rock’n’roll edge which is entirely in keeping with their ethos — it’s bigger and sleazier than Jabba the Hutt, and almost certainly also heavier. And it’s DEFINITELY not CGI. “We need to kill again” cried Oborn, and you’re thinking “dude, what do you think you’re doing RIGHT NOW???” Because this album really does kill. It also fucks, does meth and rides a big-ass hog.

Drawing parallels between yourself and the godfathers of doom is a risky move, as that kind of shit is always a hostage to fortune. But, like Rollins before them, they’ve managed to make an album that justifies its title.

Wizard. FUCKING Wizard.

-Justin Farrington-

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