Release Date: November 1st, 2010
Label: Rise Above Records
Website: None available
Even though Electric Wizard aren’t as influential or as well known as bands in the same vein, such as Candlemass and The Sword, they have garnered a cult-like following over the years due to their brand of heavy, fuzzy, doom-stoner metal. After the well documented and intense split of the original line-up, ‘We Live’ (2004) and ‘Witchcult Today’ (2007) showed that the band could still produce quality music. ‘Black Masses’ further strengthens that fact, and it establishes Electric Wizard‘s solidity and efficiency.
The sound on this album isn’t that different from that of ‘Witchcult Today’. This adds a genuine feel to the sound as it brings to mind a feeling of listening to something that is authentic and lost, out of place in the world of modern metal. Yet, despite the similar recording techniques, ‘Black Masses’ drifts away from its antecedent due to a much darker and ominous atmosphere. Electric Wizard‘s material has always been a remnant and a reminder of bad acid trips but this album contains a nightmarish quality. Something that ‘Witchcult Today’ lacked.
The album increases the psychedelia and fuzzy backdrop that have been prominent throughout the band’s life, and therefore it’s more driving than anything they have released before. It is their most accessible album to date, yet despite this, the band havenâ€™t moved away from the powerful slow riffs and the feedback-driven textures we have come to expect. The vocals are even more doomy too, with Jus Oborn‘s wails fitting in with every song they feature in superbly.
The album’s title track and ‘Night Child’ are the strongest tracks thanks to catchy riffs and memorable choruses, but other stand-out songs are ‘Turn Off Your Mind’ and ‘Venus In Furs’. Obviously, there are slower tracks such as ‘Satyr XI’ and ‘Scorpio Curse’ and these will appeal to fans of the ‘Dopethrone’-era, with their drawn out instrumental sections and trippy riffs. Closer ‘Crypt Of Drugula’ is an intriguing listen, an instrumental song with a lot of ambience. It’s an interesting addition to the album as it leaves the listener lost in it’s whirlpool of sound.
Overall, this is a good album that shows ‘Witchcult Today’ wasn’t just a one-off fluke. Electric Wizard are quickly rising to the top of the acquired taste genre that is stoner-doom metal.
Written by Rhys Milsom