It is an interesting time for Electric Wizard, considering the different perspectives the band has presented in their past four full-length records. On one hand, they appear to be moving towards a more direct, rock-influenced mentality, highlighted with their efforts in Witchcult Today and Black Masses, while on the other hand, they unleash one of their most retro efforts in Time To Die, channeling the spirit of their earlier doom/sludge days. Considering that Time To Die signalled a return to form, Wizard Bloody Wizard comes as a surprise, as it completely dives into the sleaze and gritty nature of heavy rock music via its doom metal beginnings.
This mentality of capturing the heavy rock sound in its purest form has caused a few changes, the most significant being the use of Electric Wizard’s own studio, Satyr IX Recording Studio, to produce this piece of work. Characterized as an “anti-studio” by the band, the space attempts to recapture the spirit of times past, with Electric Wizard limiting their use of equipment, relying more on the raw power of songwriting and the allure of an unpolished sound instead of the processed sound and use of effects. The overall result works very well for the band in terms of the song structures and attitude they present, granting a primitive-like quality to the end result, displaying an enticing take on the in-your-face quality of heavy rock.
Wizard Bloody Wizard aims for the direct, and goes straight for the jugular from the first note. It is essentially an attempt to get back to a basic level, leave behind whatever the band deems unnecessary and present the devastating force that heavy rock riffs hold, and the rock ‘n’ roll mentality that accompanies them. The lead work in the first single, “See You In Hell,” features all the sleaze the band is able to muster, while the hooking vocal delivery in “Necromania” ties in perfectly with the frank approach of the songwriting. The guitar solos further introduce that concept of rock allure, furiously sounding off behind the steady drum progression, diving into moments of ecstasy.
While most elements from the era of Come My Fanatics and Dopethrone have subsided, the band still offers its blend of dark psychedelia in the interesting lo-fi twist that is “The Reaper” and the long-form “Mourning of the Magicians,” which are two of the more off-kilter moments of the record. However, the majority of this release is looking towards a different side of Electric Wizard. The direct nature of the songwriting, the manner in which the heavy rock and stoner elements have moved towards a more centric role, and the fact that this is the shortest album the band has released all suggest that a change – if not here already – is afoot.
Wizard Bloody Wizard is a record that stands up well in the discography of the band. However, it does seem like the days of the expansive, haze-induced sorcerers that released sonic monuments are slowly departing, while a new era begins.