Monday, May 07, 2012

Review: Electric Wizard - Legalise Drugs & Murder

Formed in the U.K in 1993, Electric Wizard are one of the many bands among the stoner/doom revival boom that swamped the metal scene in the early and mid 90's. Their true beastly, muffled, and fuzzy tone has remained a constant within their music, but the band are far from any sort of drone. In 2000, they released Dopethrone which in and of itself is a true stoner/doom metal classic.

Genre: Doom/Stoner Metal
Label: Rise Above Records
Release Date: March 31st, 2012

  1. Legalise Drugs & Murder
  2. Murder & Madness
Total Playtime: 11 minutes, 50 seconds











Rating: 10/10




Formed in the U.K in 1993, Electric Wizard are one of the many bands among the stoner/doom revival boom that swamped the metal scene in the early and mid 90's. Their true beastly, muffled, and fuzzy tone has remained a constant within their music, but the band are far from any sort of drone. In 2000, they released Dopethrone which in and of itself is a true stoner/doom metal classic.

The first thing that stands out when approaching the new Electric Wizard content is the album art. Anyone who is keen on doom music will know where that wavy text and eerie purple comes from; for those that don't it comes from the album "Masters of Reality" by doom gods Black Sabbath. This isn't really anything unique, there have been a lot of album art homages done for Black Sabbath and one that comes to mind quickly is the cover of "Vol. 1" by Church of Misery, who are another stoner metal group from Japan. Another thing that stands out is that "legalise" is misspelled, and it is uncertain if this was done on purpose or if it was a mistake.

Diving headlong into the material, the title track opens with a distortedly fat bong rip and guitar feedback. The first thing that is noticed is that the vocals have an immense amount of reverb which causes the track to echo, and this gives a great effect that causes the vocals to feel surrounded by their own clean atmosphere apart from the grungy instruments. The reverb effect, so often lost in metal these days, is the ultimate reminder of classic doom tendencies and sets the overtone for the track.


Dirty, fuzzy guitar riffs and bass lines are what one expects while listening to Electric Wizard, and they haven't failed to deliver their trademark sound better than ever. In another move to capture the authentic 1970's stoner/doom style, the bass takes on a heavy and wooden tone, occasionally rising above the other instruments and vocals. There are quite a few "easter eggs" (for those not familiar, the term "easter egg" means a hidden surprise in a game, movie, or even music) scattered throughout the material, such as a repeating line found in "Legalise Drugs & Murder".

"Children of the grave!"

Having referenced to Black Sabbath's Masters of Reality with the album art, this lyric is a reference to a track off of that very album, the track being titled "Children of the Grave". The lyrics are incredibly repetitive, the aforementioned line repeats, as does a haunting chant of the title tracks name, but there is so much going on in the background that it is good to have at least one constant. The first track fades out nicely and leaves the bass guitar in front, along with the vocals and organ synthesizers, to ring out.

The second track, "Murder & Madness", opens with a slow and haunting lead guitar intro where the drums casually fade in. The vocals are an unrecognizable mesh of whispers which will leave the listener confused at first, until the realization sets in that the vocal track is reversed. Given the old-school traits that are already present, and that this content was only released on vinyl, there is a high degree of probability that there is a hidden message lingering here somewhere if you spin it backwards. There are even some indications that the whole song may have been recorded backwards, from the way that the drums fade in and that sometimes the guitars ring in, instead of out.

Either way, a hell fury of chaos begins to unleash midway through the song, making this track gradually descend into the depths of insanity over time. The lead guitar holds the same riff for the entire track, and the drums stay on the same pattern except for a few variances here and there. This composure works, seeing as all of the other instruments (bass, synths, secondary guitar) work up into a frenzy that will leave the listener saying "Holy fuck!" once the head trip finally comes to an end as the song fades from the left speaker to the right.

Electric Wizard have succeeded, thus far, in recreating the long lost stoner/doom atmosphere of old. The sound quality is purposely distorted, and distorted with control so that it sounds authentic but fresh. Look for their new album this fall from Rise Above Records.

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