Electric Wizard's almost 25-year-long career hasn't yet seen them slow down or take their horror-soaked heavy doom metal into boring realms or rote practices. The quartet's latest album, Wizard Bloody Wizard, is is out November 10 via Spinefarm Records, and is rife with the sound of a band who have been through a lot. A significant line-up shakeup took place after the release of 2014's Time to Die, and the band needed to regroup and rethink their approach. The album (their ninth) houses a simple formula but one that Electric Wizard have fully mastered. Ultimately, Wizard Bloody Wizard is an opium-laced, fuzzed-out homage to all that is dreadful.
Opener "See You In Hell" sets out their manifesto succinctly. Electric Wizard are adept at forming hypnotic rhythms with simple progressions —slow grooves wrap themselves around founding member and vocalist Jus Osborn's gravelly voice, while the crunched down, weighty guitars and bass play off each other to create a monolithic wall of sound that never loses the gritty melody beneath. Close your eyes and get lost in the dirty, blood-drenched atmospheres on display—imagining you're a part of a 70s B-movie is all too easy when Osborn's affected voice sings of the Devil.
Death is a huge specter on Wizard Bloody Wizard; with such heavy subject matter on show, it would be easy to slip into entirely morbid or depressing tones, yet Electric Wizard play death as a muse, allowing the darkness to seep into the words and the shadowy world that they so easily create. Instead of finding despair, they search for the primal emotions that death facilitates. It's ugly, raw, violent, and bloody, and all of those elements slip into this hazy world.
"We set out to record the most brutally simple and Neanderthal song ever," vocalist and guitarist Jus Osborn told Noisey, who produced the record alongside guitarist Liz Buckingham in their own Satyr IX recording studio. "No finesse, no frills, just a mindless Neanderthal thud. We needed to take it back to the roots, strip it back to the blues again and then play it our way….louder, dirtier and sicker. Super heavy, snail-paced, brain damage boogie…caveman drumming, screeching feedback, screaming vocals….we wanted every note to scream fuck you and your world. That's the roots of heavy metal….y'know Blue Cheer, Zeppelin, Grand Funk, Stooges….music 'the man' fucking hates, music people with 'good taste' despise."
The album could easily soundtrack your nightmares or a bad trip with swirling guitars that run in cycles and toss up images bathed in blood and smoke. "Hear the Sirens Scream" pulls all of those effects together and melds it with a rawness that echoes through the speakers and puts you front and centre of your own personal show before "The Reaper" spins away on cosmic organ sounds and catapults you ever further into depths of terror. "Wicked Caresses" boasts a devilishly catchy hook that will lodge in your brain—the guitars build around Osborn's voice that lends the chorus a cheeky and fiendish quality while Clayton Burgess' bass drops disturbingly heavy notes to add ever more weight to proceedings. It's a heady, stomp of a song and a highlight of Wizard Bloody Wizard.
Wizard Bloody Wizard is heavy, gory, full of black magick and lore and it shows exactly why Electric Wizard are a genre unto themselves at this point. See you in hell.
Cheryl Carter is doomed on Twitter.