Monday, November 15, 2010

Electric Wizard: Black Masses (2010)

The legendary British stoner doom band Electric Wizard just released their 7th full-length album, Black Masses.

This is easily recognizable Electric Wizard from the get-go. The production is dirty, with everything extremely distorted, and the guitars are heavy. The pace is slow. The vocals are distant and nasally, and sound as if they were recorded on a cheap tape deck with a built-in mic. The solos are psychedelic Jimi Hendrix kind of stuff. There are occasional drugged-out nonsense passages. On the downside, these riffs aren't as monstrously amazing as some of E-Wiz's older work. OK, so Black Masses is no Dopethrone. But I don't think anyone expected it to be that great. Still, it's pretty damn good.

Throw out the closer, the appropriately titled noise of "Crypt of Drugula", and you have 7 fine songs totaling over 50 minutes. You've got the mellowness of "Scorpio Curse", the somewhat druggy (but still cohesive) "Venus in Furs" or "Satyr IX", and some slightly more up-tempo (slightly) tracks like "Black Mass", "The Nightchild", or "Turn off Your Mind". The latter three stand out from the rest, because they're built on solid riffs. "The Nightchild" has an especially great psychedelic solo, and "Turn off Your Mind" has one of the catchiest choruses the band has ever written.

In other words, you can't really go wrong with an Electric Wizard album.

The Verdict: They've still got it, undoubtedly. I give Black Masses 4 out of 5 stars.

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