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Album Reviews : Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

By on December 16, 2017

John Lee Hooker was a lot of things to a lot of people. Significantly he was an astounding blues guitarist and vocalist, one of the greats. His principle place in the pantheon of rock’n’roll is due to his signature boogie, a boogie that would heavily influence AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and a heap of other period artists from the 60’s and 70’s. As the mentioned bands matured and became the gargantuan institutions they are recognised as today, they forged a template that psychedelic has been borrowed time and again.

Electric Wizard have been doing what they do for a long time with only degrees of change from album to album. I for one, have no problem with a band that picks a signature sound and sticks to it, likewise if a band wants to go all ‘Suicide Silence’ and release something confounding and different. The problem for Electric Wizard is that without any genuine swing, any groove or any real… John Lee Hooker-esque boogie, the type that Malcolm Young (RIP) recognised was so crucial to the feel of rock’n’roll, the cuts on Wizard Bloody Wizard get awfully old very quick.

The band’s apex is often referenced as Dopethrone (’00). That album had some truly memorable riffs that snaked and slid over a barley organised percussive mess (check out the album’s second cut “Funeralopolis”). Dopethrone is not a classic album in my book but it rocks a beefy up-tempo punch at times. The band may not boogie but they could at least provide some forward motion and catchy riffs and that is what is lacking on Wizard Bloody Wizard.

So there is barely any momentum, the riffs aren’t memorable and most tracks are too long by half…

What’s to like then? The musicianship is excellent as you would expect from a band that has been in the business for over two decades. The album cuts do work as an overall unit and vocalist, guitarist and foundation member Jus Oborn could never be accused of ‘yelling’ ala Hanno of the diabolical Mantar.

The track that I found most appealing is the “Jon Lord at midnight” keyboard infused creeper “The Reaper”. I like this track because the keys do most of the work dictating the melody with a barely legible lead guitar riff hinting at the menace the band is capable of unleashing. The bands sloth-like pace serves this cut well so maybe Oborn could explore this technique further on the next album.

Oborn deserves enormous credit for sticking to his guns after countless line-up shifts and what would be exhausting tours spending countless hours travelling in dangerous vans and sleeping in filthy dorm rooms. It could be the companionship of his wife as a band member (Liz Buckingham – guitar) since 2003 that keeps him focused. Either way, the man is a credit to working musicians everywhere regardless what I think of his current in market album.

Unfortunately, If you don’t already count doom and stoner as preferred genres then there is nothing on Wizard Bloody Wizard for you.

Band: Electric Wizard
Album: Wizard Bloody Wizard
Year: 2017
Genre: Doom Metal
Label:  Spinefarm Records
Origin: United Kingdom


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith