Review : ELECTRIC WIZARD – "Black Masses"

Electric WizardBlack Masses
Release Date: 2011Jan18 (US)
Label: Rise Above/Metal Blade
Rating: 4/5

Imagine this situation: it’s November and you’re in the middle of a forest at 1:30 A.M. You’ve spent the last five hours worshipping Satan and smoking copius amounts of marijuana. You no longer know where you are, simply staring blankly at the massive trees around you. They begin to turn into ents, curiously walking around. With every thump of their feet, you feel your consciousness slip away even more. One of them picks you up and carries you around, slightly above the tree line. 3 1/2 hours later, you wake up back in the forest. You scratch your head and wonder if what just happened was real. It was.

Not much else is needed to describe Electric Wizard‘s sound. It’s slow, it’s druggy, and it’s Satanic. While they have recently been on the trend of toning down the drugginess—Witchcult Today being, for their standards, a fairly straightforward album—Black Masses proves that guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn and co. are still quite adept at making music hazier than an opium den. It is true that they have upped the tempo a bit, but the fuzz has been amped beyond 11. Oborn’s blurry vocals lie beneath a barrage of guitar and bass like an earthworm under a nice layer of mud. It is truly addictive.

The only problems here really arise from the fact that it’s so fast and is nothing like Dopethrone. The band are not as good at writing stonery mid-paced metal as they are at creating stonery slow-as-molasses-or-a-really-large-turtle metal. In this sense, it is bit of a disappointment. However, one must simply accept this notion and an entire world is opened up. While potentially illogical in some cases, Black Masses is a wonderful step in Electric Wizard‘s evolution. Sure it’s not their magnum opus, but it gets the point across pretty damn well.

Out of all of the Liz Buckingham-era Wizard albums, Black Masses appears to be the strongest, and should hold up alongside the classics. I recommend listening to it with no sources of light other than a nice worn-down candle, like the one on the cover.

FCC: 7
Try 1, 3, 5, 6

01. Black Mass
02. Venus in Furs
03. The Nightchild
04. Patterns of Evil
05. Satyr IX
06. Turn Off Your Mind
07. Scorpio Curse
08. Crypt of Drugula

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