Release Date: Nov 17, 2017
Record label: Spinefarm Records
"Doom metal? That all sounds a bit miserable. I'll stick to my collection of uplifting Muse singles thank you very much." No. Wait. Don't go. In the right hands, doom metal can be more fun than a night spent alone with a fresh barrel of bubble wrap. Just look at Black Sabbath. Exploiting ….
Are Electric Wizard still the heaviest band in the Universe? Maybe yes, maybe no, but their ongoing commitment to the primordial stomp of their own private world, governed by weed and the Dark Lord, makes the question almost beside the point. Maybe there's another band that brings the Heavy with greater force than Electric Wizard, but they believe in this stuff in a way hardly anyone else does. 2017's Wizard Bloody Wizard presents the band in strong and primal form -- like 2014's Time to Die, this finds them stripping away what little gingerbread their sound had gained since 2000's Dopethrone and focusing on their core influences of Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, and unmelodic Led Zeppelin.
Electric Wizard's modus operandi, shared with countless doom-metal acts, is to take what Black Sabbath did on their first three albums and do it louder, slower, and grimier. But on Wizard Bloody Wizard, the Dorset group resurrects the spirt of Sabbath's fifth album, 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, which saw the original doom merchants dabbling in proggier dynamics and structures. For those headbanging purists, however, whose teeth are set on edge by the word “prog” (or “dynamics”), fear not: Wizard Bloody Wizard remains firmly in Master of Reality territory.
Within a few seconds of opening tune See You In Hell, it's obvious that Electric Wizard's ninth studio album amounts to a significant detour. In the past, the band's languorous, malevolent epics oozed other-worldly menace from every pore, bolstered by insanely thick guitar tones and delivered with ….
One of the things that stands out when revisiting Black Sabbath records is just how relatively straightforward blues-based rocknroll they are, all pentatonic scales and guitar solos. Lyrically, Geezer Butler changed everything, of course, helping propel a whole genre into existence, and mostly for the better. At a distance of nearly half a century, it's easy to forget how radical this all was at the time, even if it was also largely ignored, downplayed and mocked, save for the faithful of what became heavy metal.
There's an excellent article over on the spoof punk website The Hard Times titled 'Innovative Stoner Metal Album Blends Influences from Black Sabbath and Black Sabbath'. Like all good satire, the piece neatly skewers reality, pointing out the genuinely ridiculous debt owed by an entire genre to one single band. This is the difficulty with referencing Black Sabbath when talking about any modern stoner metal release.