British bong smoking, horror-film fanatics Electric Wizard
push more audio dope
upon our ears with their seventh full-length recording Black Masses
. The appropriately titled album features eight ghoulish tracks that clock in at nearly an hour. This translates into lengthy tracks that drone, groove and careen wildly, often fading away into a storm of guitar feedback. Although the group wraps much of the album in feedback’s coarse textures, producer Liam Watson has created a sound more accessible than EW’s earlier experimentally driven efforts.
Not only is Watson’s production cleaner, which draws a clearer outline of each musician's instrument, the group gives greater definition to their rhythms. Guitarists Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham produce memorable grooves with the sludgy consistency of a resin-caked bowl. It’s a good thing that these rhythms have a ability to last in your brain long after hitting the stop button because they beat each riff to death. While one riff may continue throughout an eight-minute track, the group keeps its background constantly changing through effects-driven guitar leads.
The guitar backdrop isn’t used in a flashy, see-how-many-scales-I-can-play sense. Nope, these parts are more for effect. One can put on the album; feel the sonic wave ebb and flow and zone out. Having connections to 1970s psychedelic, expect plenty of jamming. Think if Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead put out a Halloween album with Toni Iommi. The stereo aspects of Jus Oborn's vocals alone sounds as if he were stuck between realms, like Carol Ann ominously speaking out of the television in Poltergeist
Even though the track “Black Mass” is in singular form (track found on EW’s Metal Ship page) this has to be the title track. It embodies the feel of the album. It has a vibe somewhere between Black Sabbath
and a Hammer Studios horror film. “Crypt of Drugula” continues the saga of the vampire addicted to dopers’ blood found on the last album Witchcult Today
. This instrumental consists of nearly nine minutes of bells tolling, ghostly voices and thunder—the perfect soundtrack for your next Halloween haunted house. The hallucinatory feel of “Turn Off your” mind sounds as if it a product of Timothy O’Leary’s LSD laboratory.
On Black Masses
, Electric Wizard
made a wise choice in cleaning up the production just a bit to make their album more accessible, especially for fans of Black Sabbath
. EW still includes plenty of pedal-produced guitar mayhem
to entice their long time fans. Black Masses
is a dark enough album to rival any black metal record, but still has its fun, hippie qualities. Readers seeking out this album should pursue the colored vinyl version to hear the fullness of the recording's multiple layers. Whatever format you choose, soak in Black Masses
like a witch’s ointment, twist a fat one and let the music transport you to the blackest of Sabbaths.