Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Electric Wizard - Let Us Prey

Electric Wizard have always been a hazy band for me - and maybe they want it to be that way. I enjoy them and have no real idea why! Their fuzzy doom has a way of seeping into my lungs and sticking to my red blood cells thus entering every crevice of my flesh like a bizarre form of radiation. The only clear defining characteristic of the Electric Wizard sound that I have been able to collect is a garage-full-of-pot-smoke jam style and though that may appeal to some, I've never been a smoker or a real fan of "jamming." I don't like jam bands - not that Electric Wizard are a jam band - or their "free-for-all" idea of "whatevaaaa man just plaaaaayyyy."

This drugged out jamming style is apparent from the moment the album lights up. "A Chosen Few" opens the album with some background sound room voices gearing up before kicking into Electric Wizard's 70's inspired doom. The whole album contains this general laid back sentiment caked over with negativity and disdain and yet the tone of the album still remains deeply ritualistic and darkly occult. It is in my opinion the mysteries Oborn and his fellow sect of doom priests have unveiled on this album have had some thick black velvet cloaks draped over them. The album has an imbued sense of intense soul, moving with to the ebbing and flowing riffs. There remains a deeply personal meaning to every moment for each of the members involved.

Electric Wizard have never been afraid to get dirty in their career and a natural approach to "Let Us Prey" is felt with the untouched feedback, crisp burning smell of bass speakers at their brink of explosion and the dynamic drums. Vocally Oborn is all over the basement like a snarling angry dog barking, gnawing, groaning in frustration and generally chasing the slow sweeping melodies in songs like "Master Of Alchemy" and "The Outsider" like a giant steak tied to tail of a cat stapled to the pants of the mailman tied up being dragged behind a bus.

My only gripe with this album would be what I feel to be a stagnation in ideas. Though the songs all sound different, some different textures included in the heavier tracks would have displayed a bit more depth and broken up what could be described as a muddying effect. All the songs have the same styled solos, same styled riffs, same slow-mid tempos, same phasing guitar effects... how about a fast song? How about a sound with some clear up-front vocals? I know Electric Wizard have their own sound and style and they do it well - many moments of "Let Us Prey" are incredibly complex in the instrumental layering - but some variation somewhere would be awesome. They are capable of doing this. They did it on Dopethrone and they also did it on Witchcult Today, their newest album but somewhere in between, they lost a bit of the spark it seems.

*WPSC tag on the front cover from the radio station I work at. This disc was found in their used bin. I had a pristine copy a while which I traded a while back.

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