Monday, June 07, 2010

Electric Wizard: Dopethrone (2000) Review

U.K. metal magazine Terrorizer named Electric Wizard's Dopethrone the greatest album of the last decade, and U.S. mag Decibel also gave it a very respectable position. I had a very hard time imagining that a stoner doom album could be that great. I had 1997's Come My Fanatics . . . and, while it was good, it wouldn't even cross my mind that they could make the best album of the decade.

So, I decided to check it out. As usual with stoner doom, it is as heavy as possible, and moves at a snail's pace. It has a crunchy kind of feel overlaid with occasional 70's style lead guitar embellishments. It steamrolls everything in its path, slowly but inevitably.

There is one interlude on the album, so it really has only 7 tracks. The shorter three (clocking in under 7 minutes) move a little faster, and serve to mix things up a little bit. They're not the reason we listen to the group, though.

The longer tracks--the 9 minute "Funeralopolis", 15 minute "Weird Tales", and the 11 minute cuts "I, the Witchfinder" and title track--are what really shine, giving the band time to really explore the excellent riffs they've created and move the songs into different territory. The weakest among these is "Weird Tales", largely because it has several minutes of BS noise at the end.

I really have only two very, very minor complaints. The vocals are a fairly generic, unskilled affair, but this is helped by the use of distortion. The other complaint is that "Dopethrone" contains about ten minutes of silence followed by an unnecessary hidden sound clip.

The Verdict: While I wouldn't have put it at the top of the list, I can't fault Terrorizer for doing so, especially since they're British (the band and the magazine). It's as close to perfect as any stoner doom album ever has been, and is heavier than anything else out there. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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