Much like Lee Dorrian rallying against occult doom while simultaneously profiting from it with Rise Above Records, something about the pre-release press for this new Electric Wizard record has rubbed me the wrong way. It seems Jus Oborn has also jumped on the “modern metal is lame” bandwagon, hailing the new album as a “return to the roots”…and yet, musically, I don’t hear much to distinguish this from the second-rate 70’s worshippers that have been oversaturating the scene these past few years. Are they just getting old, or is it just me?
Leadoff single “See You in Hell,” described as a “the most brutally simple and Neanderthal song ever” lives up to its billing. A plodding, crunchy, six-minute heavy blues with a slightly psychedelic chorus, this tune doesn’t reinvent the wheel. But we’re almost at the point of over-repetition here—they could’ve trimmed two minutes from this track and no one would miss ‘em.
“Necromania” goes back to the well with a similarly grimy 70’s feel and more of that “copy and paste occult imagery” their ex-label boss purportedly detests. Speaking of copy-paste, “Hear the Sirens Scream” borrows its main riff from Blood Ceremony’s “Return to Forever” (although I’ve heard similar riffage on a few other doomy tunes). Having listened to the latter several times over the years, I know those guitar chords anywhere. And Blood Ceremony did open for The Wizard a little while back, so it’s possible the apprentice influenced the master on that one.
After a three-minute throwaway track (“The Reaper”) that sounds vaguely middle-eastern, they do get back down to doom on the back stretch, sounding more like The Wizard of recent years on the last two numbers. “Wicked Caresses” is a solid, Sabbath-steeped stomp, although the lyrics leave a little to be desired. (Words were never this band’s strong suit.) Meanwhile, 11-minute “Mourning of the Magicians” takes things back toward the sleepy haze of the band’s salad days, ending the album on a more satisfying note.
Don’t get me wrong, Wizard Bloody Wizard isn’t terrible, but were it a different artist’s name adorning this titillating cover, I likely wouldn’t have given it a second listen.