That was until the latest conjuration from the mighty Electric Wizard manifested through Rise Above Records. “…the record Electric Wizard have always threatened to make”, boasted the label about 2010’s new long player, ‘BLACK MASSES’.
Such an event is one of the few reasons I changed the frequency ever so slightly from gloom to doom.
I couldn’t wait the extra few weeks to acquire what’s sure to be the much sought after vinyl copy of the LP so, for now, purchased the CD version.
Will it be worth shelling out more cash on the 12 inch platter when finally available I pondered as I pressed play…
The closest thing to a title track, ‘BLACK MASS’, opens proceedings. Like a murky fog rising from the ground, hazy feedback breaks the silence before a deliciously dark riff gallops forth out of the shadows and carries you away. The instant Jus Oborn’s haunting wail of “Lucifer…” soars into the nocturnal wall of sound there is no turning back. The opening track perfectly encapsulates everything that is wickedly unique about the Dorset fiends: A heavy retro sound that shuns trends, but is far from old fashioned or stale.
The succeeding track, ‘VENUS IN FURS’ is a stunning example of how “WIZARD” have shattered their rather lame “Stoner” tag into oblivion. There is an energetic flame that enigmatically fuels the tempo, without ever threatening to compromise the doom laden weight of the music. Oborn’s exquisitely morbid crooning adds a feeling of dread to the music and leaves a distinct a whiff of sulphur in the air.
Riff after pummelling riff continue to tumble of this aural juggernaut of an album. ‘NIGHTCHILD’s’ rhythmic chug doesn’t give your neck muscles any respite with a nightmarish rumble that has the ability to reduce gravestones to mere chattering teeth.
But BM is not an album that pounds aimlessly. The rousing meanderings of Liz Buckingham’s guitar plays piper, leading you further astray into the harmonic pitch black.
The psychotropic web woven in ‘PATTERNS OF EVIL’ is ominously captivating and it’s not until the measured execution of ‘SATYR XI’ that an intoxicating shot of sloth is injected. The tracks unhurried span clears the way for ‘TURN OFF YOUR MIND’, which, in truth, uses it as a psychedelic yoyo as oppose to turn it off.
The penultimate ‘SCORPIOS CURSE’ delivers another relentless chunk of sound until all that’s left is a 9 minute atmospheric journey to ‘THE CRYPT OF DRUGULA’. The aforesaid beast’s heartbeat succumbs to its, hopefully temporary, resting place as the album eloquently recedes into the silent abyss.
‘BLACK MASSES’ arrives three years after their monumental ‘WITCHCULT TODAY’ LP, and it’s evident that this record picks up from where WCT left off. For me that’s good news. Others may differ, but at the very least, this is an extremely good Electric Wizard album. That alone should be enough to excite lovers of heavy music.
HAIL THE WIZARD!