Wizard Bloody Wizard
10th November, 2017 – Spinefarm Records
01. See You In Hell
03. Hear the Sirens Scream
04. The Reaper
05. Wicked Caresses
06. Mourning the Magicians
British Lovecraftian stoner doom metal legends, Electric Wizard, are back! It’s been three long years since their last outing, 2014’s Time to Die, crawled into our ears like smoke from black candles used in rituals of dark magic. There was a mixed reception to that album and its predecessor Black Mass, so there was some apprehension about this newest album, titled Wizard Bloody Wizard. Can Electric Wizard revitalise themselves or are they destined for the old folks home?
Right away Wizard Bloody Wizard feels like their least doomy and most stoner rock album to date. The biggest and most noticeable reason for this is the production; where previous outings were drenched in reverb and fuzzier guitar tones, creating a miasmal, smokey vibe, Wizard Bloody Wizard features crunchy guitars and some of the warmest and cleanest production values yet.
Another difference lies in the composition of the songs. There’s a more psychedelic bluesy feel to the riffs dreamed up by guitarists Liz Buckingham and Jus Oborne, rather than the evil, doomy feel that they usually feature – though they’re still righteously tasty. The press kit calls this “21st century funeral boogie” and it’s hard to disagree with that tag. None of the tracks feel like filler, and notable are the slow, foreboding crawl of closing song “Mourning of the Magicians” and the psychedelic, organ-drenched madness of “The Reaper”.
Oborne’s lyrics are just as trippy, mind-bending, and horror-filled as ever. This is evidenced immediately on the album’s opening track “See You in Hell”, which declares that he’s turning off his mind, that there will be no new dawn, and that your dreams will die. Elsewhere, “Necromania” is about a woman who gets pleasure from death. It’s exactly what you expect from Electric Wizard: sex and violently-themed lyrics that are kind of cheesy but also strangely compelling on some level. Kind of like that album art.
His delivery of those lyrics is delightfully twisted, too. Oborne’s singing voice is more a snarl, maybe even punk-like, than anything one would normally expect in a metal band. He has only a few notes in his range, but he uses them incredibly well – and the clear production lets his unique timbre shine through all the better. Speaking of, the mix is delicious. The bass is prominent and gives the music a lot of weight while being blended well with the guitar tone. The production is executed in a way that reminisces of old late-60s psychedelic rock, but with that all-important modern oomph.
After a few albums met with mixed reviews, Wizard Bloody Wizard is an excellent shift for Electric Wizard. They’ve gone a slightly different direction that maintains their core sound but presents it in a different way. Songs such as “Hear the Sirens Scream” and “Necromania” should turn out to be anthemic fan-favourites and “The Reaper” and “See You In Hell” really bring the dread and doom. It wouldn’t be stretch to say this is one of Electric Wizard’s best albums overall.